ATENEO booked a return trip to the Finals of the 10th Shakey’s V-League First Conference following a two-game sweep of University of Santo Tomas in their semifinals series on Thursday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The two-time reigning champions disposed of the Tigresses, 25-13, 23-25, 25-23, 25-13, to claim the best-of-three semis, 2-0 and book a return to the Finals.
The Lady Eagles now await the winner of the do-or-die Game Three between National University and Adamson in the other semis series for their opponent in the best-of-three Finals.
Thai reinforcement and late-tournament acquisition Jeng Bualee showed her value for the Lady Eagles as she fired away with 22 points in powering the team past the six-time league champions.
"Si Jeng kasi napakalaki ng tulong niya sa amin," said Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb of the two-time MVP. “May laro siya sa lahat, opensa, depensa, receive, block, lahat."
After winning the opening set, the defending champions slowed down in the second and the Tigresses were quick to pounce. Three consecutive errors by Ateneo allowed UST to take the lead (23-20) and the set to even the match.
The Katipunan-based squad then rallied back from four points down late in the third to go up two sets to one, before finishing off the Tigresses by racing to a 17-4 lead in the deciding set for the win.
Alyssa Valdez added 15 for the Lady Eagles, while Fille Cainglet and guest player Rachel Ann Daquis had 10 each.
Maika Ortiz finished with 14 points and Carmela Tunay contributed 10 for UST.
In a disappointing end to the campaign of the Tigresses, who finished with a 6-3 (win-loss) record, with all three losses coming at Ateneo’s expense.