ATENEO recovered from an error-strewn opening frame to turn back University of Santo Tomas, 20-25, 25-16, 29-27, 25-14, on Tuesday at the start of their best-of-three semifinals in the Shakey's V-League First Conference at Philsports Arena.
After shaking off the sluggish start, Ateneo took control and Alyssa Valdez, who played for the UST girls' volleyball team, exploded with six straight points as the Lady Eagles zoomed past the Tigresses, 22-10, in the fourth set en route to victory.
Valdez finished with 25 points from 19 attacks, three blocks and three service aces, while Thai reinforcement Jeng Bualee, acquired only over the weekend, had 19 points in her first game with the Lady Eagles.
"Si Jeng bagong dating pa lang sa amin hinahanapan pa namin siya ng magandang puwesto kung saan siya iikot," said Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb.
Rachel Ann Daquis, Ateneo’s other guest player, had 13 points and Fille Cainglet contributed 10.
UST had a chance to take the third set when it led 25-24, but Maika Ortiz was called for overreaching that paved the way for an Ateneo recovery.
The Lady Eagles committed 20 errors, while UST had a total of 28.
"First set kasi sobrang dami naming errors, nakipagsabayan kami sa kabila buti na lang noong second set ok na," said Gorayeb.
Carmela Tunay scored 14 for UST, Ortiz had 13, guest player Aiza Maizo came up with 12 and Pamela Lastimosa added 10 markers.