UAAP Season 81: Ateneo escapes UST, extends win streak to seven

Mark Escarlote on Mar 20, 2019 07:16 PM
 Ateneo escapes UST, extends win streak to seven
Ateneo de Manila University escaped with a five-set thriller over University of Sto. Tomas to extend its winning streak to seven.

League-leading Ateneo de Manila University came back from two sets down to defeat University of Sto. Tomas, 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-22, 15-11, and extend its winning streak to seven straight Wednesday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Veteran middle blocker Maddie Madayag wreaked havoc at the net with league-best 11 kill blocks on her way to posting a career-best 23 points for the Lady Eagles, who improved to 7-1 win-loss slate after a hard-fought game.

Kat Tolentino finished with 20 points built on 16 spikes, two kill blocks and two aces while Bea De Leon scored 11 with six coming off kill blocks for Ateneo.

Ponggay Gaston had 10 markers and 23 excellent receptions for the Lady Eagles, who had 24 kill blocks compared to UST's 11. Deanna Wong tallied 38 excellent sets and three points while Dani Ravena registered 20 digs.

"UST really came prepared today but my players really fought well and 'yung resiliency nila was really there. I really admire my players because of the trust they're giving me. I just told them not to give up, it will come just be patient and have fun," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.        

Madayag broke a 10-10 deadlock in the last frame with a running attack that sparked a 3-0 run to push Ateneo’s lead to 13-10. Sisi Rondina, who had a career outing, stopped the Tigresses bleeding but committed back-to-back errors that cost UST the match.

Ateneo also extended their mastery over UST to 15 straight head-to-head matches starting from the semifinals of Season 74.

The Lady Eagles forced the decider after staving off the furious rally of the Tigresses. Madayag pushed Atene at set point off a kill block and an easy dink. Dimdim Pacres saved a set point followed by a Jules Samonte error before Kat Tolentino ended the frame with a hit.    

UST saved two set points in the third frame to force a deuce after Ateneo was called for back-to-back errors including a rotational fault. Rondina put the Tigresses at match point on a kill before Bea De Leon answered with a quick kill. Rondina was blocked on the next play before De Leon nailed an ace to take the frame.

UST started the match on fire only to slowly fade in the end to fall to 5-3 slate.

Rondina saw her career-best 35 points off 30 attacks, three kill blocks and two aces go down the drain with the stinging loss that snapped the Tigresses' three-game run. The graduating hitter also had 25 digs for an all-around play.  

Rookie Eya Laure finished with 21 markers while Dimdim Pacres had nine for the Tigresses. Mafe Galanza tallied 28 excellent sets.

  

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