On-point Ateneo deals first defeat to error-prone UP

On-point Ateneo deals first defeat to error-prone UP
THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT. Ateneo scored a convincing victory in "The Battle of Katipunan," cleanly sweeping neighboring UP.

In the battle between “Heartstrong” and “UP Ikot” on Sunday at the San Juan Arena, Ateneo de Manila University did not give the University of the Philippines much reason to celebrate.

Displaying deadly form and determination, the Lady Eagles pulled off a shocker in blanking the erstwhile undefeated Lady Maroons, 25-14, 25-19, and 25-21.

The convincing victory was Ateneo’s fourth in a row coming from a 1-1 record. This latest one moved them into a tie for the top spot with De La Salle University

Dragged down from that top spot is UP which suffered its first setback in four starts. 

Playing right in the middle of a jam-packed crowd, the Lady Eagles showed no jitters and drew contributions from all over. Jho Maraguinot and Bea De Leon scored 11 points apiece while Mich Morente had 10 points to her name.

Kat Tolentino chipped in nine points while Jia Morado tallied 38 excellent sets.

That was the complete contrast from the Lady Maroons who failed to capture the magic that led to their pacesetting start. They had 22 errors and allowed nine aces from their opponents.

Ateneo rode aces, opponent errors, and laser-focused attacks to cruise to wins in the first two sets. “Si coach Tai (Bundit) kasi talaga, point-by-point yung pinagawa niya sa mga bata sa training,” assistant coach Sherwin Meneses said in his post-game conference.

The Lady Eagles were still way ahead, 19-9, in the third before UP suddenly came to life and had a 12-5 rally to pull within four points, 21-25. Maraguinot did not let them come any closer, however, and her down the line hit put the game away.

Appearances of the “UP Ikot,” State U’s post-point celebration, were few and far between as the “Heartstrong” Lady Eagles left no doubt in ending up as the victor in “The Battle of Katipunan.”

Talking about how prepared they were for the big-time battle, Meneses shared, “Okay naman yung ensayo kasi naging masaya naman si coach Tai. Kaya rin naging masaya lahat kasi masaya si coach Tai.”

Ateneo’s big-time win was much welcome as they head into a rivalry game against the Lady Spikers to close out the first round of eliminations. “Bago mag-Ateneo La Salle, at least, may kumpyansa yung mga bata,” Meneses expressed.

Isa Molde and Tots Carlos were the lone bright spots for UP with 12 points each.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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