UAAP: Ateneo played ‘too stiff’ in loss to NU, says coach Oliver Almadro

Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. –UAAP PHOTO

Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro said his players need to be more confident and consistent after getting swept by defending champion National University on the opening day of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.

After falling to the unbeaten titlist Lady Bulldogs, 15-25, 20-25, 16-25, Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena, Almadro admitted his Blue Eagles still need to improve their consistency and confidence after playing stiff.

“[The team needs to improve its] confidence in every match. Being consistent in what we do and what we practice. We just have to show it right here, to show what we did in the preseason,” said the Ateneo coach after the loss.

“I’m not so happy but I’m giving it to my players that we have to bounce back in the next game… Our movements were a bit stiff. But of course, you’re going against the champion team, with an intact lineup. There is pressure,” he added in Filipino.

Almadro, who steered the team to a Season 81 title in 2019, told the Blue Eagles after the game “to get to the moment first” as their gallant stand early in the first set was turned back by NU and their last-ditch effort in the third ended with an anti-climactic service error by Faith Nisperos.

“Don’t look at the endpoint right away. Don’t look too far right away. Just think of the process first. One game at a time. Our problem earlier was we were too stiff. We cannot react right away to what’s happening because we’re thinking ahead right away,” he said.

Ateneo tries to bounce back against fellow opening day loser University of the East on Wednesday at MOA Arena.

“We have to prepare because [our first game] was a bit disappointing. I’m not disappointed in my player. I’m disappointed with the outcome. But I’m still proud of my team and I know they will bounce back. And I know they will get into their mind that it is now the UAAP. It’s not anymore preseason,” the Ateneo coach said.

“It’s a process. We have to take it one day at a time, one game at a time, and one point and one set at a time.”

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