UAAP Season 81: Ateneo owns Final Four no. 1 seed

Mark Escarlote on Apr 28, 2019 03:39 PM
UAAP Season 81: Ateneo owns Final Four no. 1 seed
Ateneo de Manila University finished the elimination round with a 12-2 win-loss record and the no. 1 seed in the Final Four.

Ateneo de Manila University secured the no. 1 seed in the Final Four after turning back University of the East, 25-20, 27-25, 25-11, on Sunday at the end of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament eliminations at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Lady Eagles zapped the fight out of the Lady Warriors with a backbreaking rally in the first two sets before cruising to their 12th win in 14 outings.    

Ateneo, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, forged a third straight Final Four showdown with No. 4 team Far Eastern University. The two squads split their first two semis matchups with the Lady Tams eliminating the Lady Eagles last year that ended the six straight Ateneo-De La Salle University Finals series.

 “Syempre ito na ‘yung simula ng totoong labanan, real UAAP, yung playoffs,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, who is looking forward to steer the Lady Eagles back in the Finals. 

Veterans Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and Bea De Leon led the way for the Lady Eagles. Tolentino scored 11 points off eight attacks, two kill blocks and an ace.

Madayag had 10 points, Gaston scored nine while Jules Samonte and De Leon scored eight markers each for the Lady Eagles. 

With momentum on their side after an amazing comeback in the second set, the Katipunan-based squad buried UE early in the third on its way to a straight sets win.  

Ateneo saved four set points in the second set, crawling back from a 21-24 deficit to tie the frame at 25 off a Gaston kill. De Leon put the Lady Eagles at set point advantage after scoring a kill block on Mean Mendrez before Madayag put the frame away with an ace.    

The Lady Eagles recovered from a 1-5 start in the opening set to force a deadlock at 9. Ateneo and UE engaged in tight battle before the Lady Eagles broke a 19-19 tie with a closing 6-1 closing rally to take the frame.

The Lady Warriors finished the season with a 3-11 slate, UE's most number of wins since winning four games seven years ago. 

Mendrez finished with 12 points while graduating hitter Judith Abil wrapped her five-year stint as a Lady Warrior with 11 markers - all off attacks - and 13 excellent receptions.

Outgoing skipper Roselle Baliton finished with six markers while graduating setter Laizah Bendong tallied nine excellent sets for UE, which also bid goodbye to seniors Jana Sta. Maria and Jasmine Alcayde.   

 

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