ATENEO arranged a sixth straight finals showdown with arch-rival La Salle after turning back a gritty Far Eastern University side, 25-22, 25-10, 16-25, 26-24, in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the MOA Arena.
Game One of the best-of-three Finals is on April 29.
Michelle Morente, Bea de Leon, Kat Tolentino and Jia Morado steered the two-time champion Lady Eagles to a sixth consecutive finals appearance, but they had to endure a tough stand by an FEU side that came alive starting in the third set.
FEU capitalized on Ateneo’s 11 errors in the third set to avert a straight-set loss then engaged the Lady Eagles in a fourth-set dogfight that ended with a Michele Morente spike.
Morente scored 16, Maraguinot added 14 points and De Leon chipped in 12.
“Sobrang sarap sa feeling, lahat ng pagod at sacrifice nag-pay off. Lahat ng pinaghirapan namin ng elims, lumabas naman,” said Maraguinot.
Morente was pumped up to deliver and help the Lady Eagles return to the title series after missing last season due to academic deficiency.
“Honestly, ang sarap sa pakiramdam kasi at least this year nakatulong ako sa team na at least maka-abot ng Finals at nakapag-contribute din ako,” said Morente, who also had 15 digs and six excellent receptions.
Second year Ateneo libero Deanna Wong also registered 20 digs and 11 excellent sets in a match that took almost two hours to finish.
Bernadeth Pons scored 14 points for FEU, while graduating player Remy Palma added 12.