Lady Eagles tame Lady Bulldogs in straight sets
Mark Escarlote on Jan 31, 2016 06:05 PM
Madeleine Madayag (No. 17) backed up two-time Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez in carrying the Ateneo De Manila Lady Eagles past the National University Lady Bulldogs.
National University just can’t close a set.
Ateneo de Manila saw an opening to tame the Lady Bulldogs.
Playing catch up in the first two sets, the defending champion Lady Eagles turned what was expected to be a tight game between two powerhouse teams to a lopsided affair as Ateneo extended its winning streak to 19 with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-14 victory to begin their three-peat bid in the 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the sold out The Arena in San Juan.
Back-to-back Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez again delivered for Ateneo with 18 points, 15 coming off kills, and got plenty of support from her teammates especially Madeleine Madayag.
Madayag was a sentinel in front of the net with five kill denials including the match clinching block to finish with 13 points while Bea De Leon had 10 markers for Ateneo, unbeaten since losing Game 2 of their championship match against De La Salle back in Season 76 in the Loyola-based squad’s breakthrough crown.
Gizelle Tan had a superb debut as Ateneo’s starting libero as a replacement for Denden Lazaro, who played her final playing year last season, with nine excellent receptions. Playmaker Jia Morado dished out 33 excellent sets for Ateneo.
Zapping the confidence out of the Lady Bulldogs with their rallies, Ateneo dismantled NU in the third set. They buried the Lady Bulldogs in a 24-14 hole before Madayag put the icing on the cake with a solid block on Myla Pablo’s attack.
“Coach Tai definitely made it possible naman. Lagi niyang sinasabi kahit na we’re behind nga na, “heart strong, happy” and it works e. It really works. We really don’t know what was happening but we stayed calm and kailangan talaga nandoon ang composure kasi iba e, UAAP and NU din ang kalaban and they really fought hard today,” said Valdez, whose squad was defeated by the Lady Bulldogs in the V-League Collegiate Conference Finals.
Ateneo started out slow, falling behind 16-12 before mounting a 9-3 counterattack led by sweet-spiking Valdez to take the lead, 21-19. NU drew close, 21-22, before completing the come-from-behind set win with a closing three straight points.
The Lady Bulldogs built a 14-7 advantage in the second frame only to see Ateneo overtake them once again in the closing stretch, 23-18. NU saved a point but Valdez’s hit and a service ace by Madayag shattered the Lady Bulldogs’ confidence heading to the third frame.
Six-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo scored 11 markers each for NU, which was surprisingly outblocked by Ateneo, 9-4.
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