Ateneo gets even with La Salle after 5-set thriller

Paul Lintag on Apr 10, 2016 07:17 PM
Ateneo gets even with La Salle after 5-set thriller
Ateneo survives La Salle in five sets to get the number 1 spot for the Final Four.

A no-bearing game featured a championship atmosphere and a championship level of play.

The two-time defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles got their revenge against rival De La Salle University after a dramatic 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 15-5 win in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday.

After four intense sets, the Lady Eagles shifted into higher gear and simply blasted the Lady Spikers en route to securing the no. 1 seed in the Final Four.

An ace by Alyssa Valdez gave the champs a 10-point lead, 13-3, while Jho Maraguinot put Ateneo on match point after an off-the-block kill.

A Mika Reyes service error ended the match in favor of Katipunan.

Two-time MVP Valdez was sensational for Ateneo, finishing with 24 points including three aces.

"La Salle gave us a really good fight. They really played well today," Valdez said. "Savoring this moment muna masi mahaba pa. Focus and look forward sa next games."

La Salle got off to a fast start, riding the exploits of Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo to control the first set, 25-21.

The Lady Eagles seemed to get enough momentum after saving five set points in the opening salvo as the champs took a 2-1 advantage after a 25-16 win in set 3.

Ateneo was on its way to victory in set four before the Lady Spikers showed they have championship composure themselves and forced a deciding final set.

That's where the Taft collapse happened as Bea De Leon punished La Salle at the net with powerful quick hits and big blocks.

De Leon ended up with 13 points while Maraguinot finished with 14.

Aside from getting a win at the expense of their heated rivals, the prize for Ateneo is the no. 1 spot in the Final Four after finishing the regular season with a 12-2 record.

They will face either UP or NU.

At 10-3, the Lady Spikers will still face the Lady Bulldogs to round out the elimination round but La Salle is scheduled to face no. 3 seed FEU in the Final Four.

Galang played her best game for La Salle this season, over a year after tearing her ACL, and scored 20 points.

Majoy Baron finished with 15 while Demecillo (12) and Kim Dy (11) combined for 23 points.

The setters also had a fierce showdown as reigning best setter Jia Morado recorded 62 excellent sets. Kim Fajardo, the MVP of the first round matchup between both rivals, finished with 61.

Relive the action-packed moments of the game right here!

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