Clutch Valdez carries Ateneo to 5th straight finals

Paul Lintag on Apr 16, 2016 06:16 PM
Clutch Valdez carries Ateneo to 5th straight finals
Jhoana Maraguinot was the leading scorer but it was MVP Alyssa Valdez that came through in the clutch for Ateneo in the Final Four.

When in doubt, give the ball to Alyssa Valdez.

The reigning two-time MVP delivered in the clutch as the defending champion Ateneo Lady Eagles swept the UP Lady Maroons, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21, in the Final Four UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena Sunday.

Valdez scored Ateneo's last five attack points as the Lady Eagles secured a fifth straight UAAP Finals appearance against the fourth-seeded Lady Maroons.

Playing her last year in the UAAP, Valdez is gunning for a third straight title with Ateneo.

Jhoana Maraguinot led the Lady Eagles with 17 points while Valdez added 16 in Ateneo's seventh straight win.

"I'm so thankful na for the fifth time I'm entering the finals with different teammates," Valdez said. "I'm just really lucky to be there again."

Despite making their first playoff appearance since 2004, the Lady Maroons put up a worthy fight especially in the third set.

UP put up such a strong challenge that Ateneo required the heroics of Valdez to win down the stretch.

"Let's give it up also to UP who gave us a good fight. Sobrang laki ng potential nila to be back next year," Valdez said of the Lady Maroons.

Nicole Tiamzon led UP with 13 points as the super rookie tandem of Isa Molde and Diana Carlos was limited to a combined 10 points.

The Lady Eagles now wait for the winner of the La Salle-FEU matchup in the other Final Four series to determine their championship opponents.


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