ON THIS DAY: Lady Eagles reclaim UAAP women’s volleyball crown
Mark Escarlote on May 18, 2020 11:35 AM
On this day, Ateneo de Manila University defeated University of Sto. Tomas to claim the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball title.
Ateneo de Manila University’s experience and grace under pressure proved to be too much for the determined but inexperienced University of Sto. Tomas.
On this day a year ago, the Lady Eagles completed one of the most exciting Finals series comebacks in UAAP women’s volleyball to claim the Season 81 title.
Ateneo had its back against the wall after a shocking straight-sets defeat in Game 1. Unfazed, the Lady Eagles fought back in Game 2 to force a deciding battle – the first Finals series to go to a Game 3 since Season 78.
A 21,347-strong crowd filled the MOA Arena in a sea of yellow and blue.
But what was expected to be a tight duel turned out to be a one-sided affair.
The Lady Eagles charged hard and the Tigresses, who were on their first championship stint in eight years, were easily overwhelmed in an anticlimactic series finish.
Ateneo crowned itself as queen once again after a four-year wait with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-22, demolition of UST for the Lady Eagles third title overall.
WATCH GAME 3 HERE:
“First, it’s not how you start, it’s how you end it,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, who replaced Tai Bundit after Season 80 when the Lady Eagles came up short of booking a Finals seat. “We lost the first match of the season. Many people counted us out. Bobo daw outside hitter namin, wala kaming receive, wala kaming defense, but we made it.”
Then graduating middle blockers Finals Most Valuable Player Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, who were the remaining remnants of the last squad that won the title in Season 77 - the second of back-to-back championships, imposed their might at the net to stymie the attacking firepower of the Tigresses while veteran hitter Kat Tolentino punished the defense of UST.
Tolentino scored 15 points including 11 attacks while Madayag and De Leon finished with 10 and six markers, respectively, as they closed their collegiate careers the way they started it – as champions.
Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina posted 18 points as she bid adieu as the Queen Tigress while Eya Laure, who suffered a foot injury in Game 2, got 10 markers for UST, which came up short of winning back the title once again since a bridesmaid finish in Season 73.
De La Salle University, which saw its three-peat reign snapped after getting the boot in the semis from UST, finished third.
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