Lady Eagles soar to second win in a row, drop Tigresses to 0-2

Mark Escarlote on Feb 07, 2016 04:52 PM
Lady Eagles soar to second win in a row
Ateneo de Manila scores its second win in a row at the expense of free falling University of Sto. Tomas.

Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University snatched its second straight win to move up to a share of the early lead at the expense of the University of Sto. Tomas Golden Tigresses, 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15, Sunday in the 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

The three-peat seeking Lady Eagles extended their winning run that dated back in the last two games of Season 76 Finals to 20 to sit beside De La Salle on top of the heap.

Reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez dropped 23 points with 20 coming off kills to lead Ateneo in repulsing the Tigresses in the battle of two crowd-drawing teams that filled The Arena in San Juan.   

Jhoanna Maraguinot had 12 markers while Amy Ahomiro finished with eight for the Lady Eagles, who handed UST the Espana-based squad’s second straight defeat in as many outings.  

UST, coming off a painful five-set heartbreak against Adamson in the season opener last week, was pushed to the wall after two frames, fought back in the third behind fireball Cherry Rondina before eventually fading in the end.

“UST kasi they will fight, grabe. Big hearts talaga ‘yung mga bata,” said Valdez of UST’s resistance. “Lalaban at lalaban talaga sila. Iba ‘yung puso ng mga taga-UST e.”

“Binigyan talaga kami ng magandang laban ng UST and siguro nakita rin talaga namin ang dapat naming paghirapan as a team,” she added.    

The Tigresses were buried, 12-20, in Set 2 before mounting a counteroffensive to inch closer 23-18. UST saved two set points in the second frame after a net error by Ahomiro and a service ace before Valdez sealed the 2-0 match lead with an off the block smash.    

But UST refused to go down without a fight.

The Tigresses built a 13-6 lead to start the third frame before Ateneo threatened a comeback as they closed the gap 18-20 after Bea De Leon blocked Rodina’s hit followed by an off the block kill by Kim Gequillana.

Sophomore skipper EJ Laure pushed the Tigresses at set point, 24-19. The Lady Eagles saved three set points before Chloe Cortez denied Valdez for the set win to extend the match.

However, it was only a minor delay for the Lady Eagles victory.

Ateneo buried UST, 23-13, in a telling run that broke open the tight final frame that started with the Lady Eagles protecting an 8-7 advantage.

Rondina scored a point to stop Ateneo’s run but committed a service error – one of many that UST threw in its total of 34 unforced miscues – that pushed the Lady Eagles at match point before De Leon sealed the victory with a hit in the middle.

Rondina finished with 21 points, nine markers less of her career-high the last time out, while Laure got 11 for the Tigresses.





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