ATENEO bested University of Santo Tomas in straight sets, 28-26, 25-15, 25-22, to gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals of the 75th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan Sunday.
Allysa Valdez, a former UST high school volleyball player, single-handedly carried the Lady Eagles with 23 points from 18 spikes, two blocks, and three service aces in steering the Katipunan-based spikers to the no. 2 spot in the semis with a 10-4 (win-loss) slate.
Defending two-time champion La Salle has already clinched the top spot and a similar twice-to-beat edge with its league-best 13-1.
The loss left the Tigresses needing to go through a playoff with National University Lady Bulldogs for the last semifinals berth.
The do-or-die encounter is set Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan, with the winner meeting the Lady Archers in the semis on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Eagles survived the closely-fought opening set that was still tied at 26-26 until Carmela Tunay committed a service error, before Alyssa Valdez sealed it with a vicious attack for the win.
The Tigresses then didn’t play with enough urgency until the third set when they led, 15-6.
But the Katipunan-based spikers, regained back momentum behind a 15-5 run to stay on top for good, 22-20.
“Nag-long ball kasi `yung UST sa third set, and luckily we got the chance to adjust,” said Ateneo senior Fille Cainglet.
“Kaya noong every each point or lost point namin nag-uusap kami sa court. Importante kasi yun na may communication. It’s also a way for us to motivate each other sa loob ng court,” added the Bacolod native spiker.
Although Ateneo lost in the blocks department, 6-9, the Lady Eagles scored on seven service aces against the two of the Tigresses, while capitalizing on the Tigresses’ 23 team errors.
“Maganda naman ang performance nila kanina,” said UST coach Odjie Mamon about his team. “Pero nagdikit-dikit points ng Ateneo. Breaks of the game lang.”
Team captain Judy Caballejo came away with 14 markers from 13 attacks and one service ace for the Tigresses.
Meanwhile, Adamson University dominated University of the Philippines in the first game, 25-20, 25-9, 25-17.
Pau Soriano came with 17 markers from 15 attacks and two blocks,
while Shiela Pineda finished with 15 points from eight spikes and seven service aces for the Lady Falcons, who finished with a 9-5 (win-loss)card for third place.
Katherine Bersola made eight points from six spikes and two blocks, while Nicole Tiamzon also had eight from seven hits and one block.
UP ended the season with a 2-12 card.