Ateneo Lady Eagles first to Final Four, clobber UST Tigresses to stretch win streak to three
Alyssa Valdez and the Lady Eagles score their ninth win in 11 outings. Jerome Ascano

ATENEO secured a place in the Final Four with three matches to spare and took the provisional lead in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-18 rout of University of Sto. Tomas on Saturday at the Philsports Arena.

The Lady Eagles have won three straight after absorbing back-to-back losses, improving their win-loss record to 9-2, with second-running La Salle (8-2) to play its 11th match on Sunday against lowly Adamson.

The Tigresses meanwhile, sufferd their sixth loss in 11 outings and are in joint fifth with National University, which lost a five-set showdown with fourth-running Far Eastern University in the day's other game.

[See FEU Lady Tamaraws survive five-set thriller against NU Lady Bulldogs]

Back-to-back MVP Alyssa Valdez and sophomore Jhoana Maraguinot each had 14 points for Ateneo.

Valdez was surprised to learn the Lady Eagles are on the way to their seventh straight semis appearance, but she insisted they still have a lot to work on as a team.

“Oh, wow, really? Hindi ko nga alam. Yay! But it’s really a long way pa, syempre blessing all the time na makapasok sa Final four pero lahat ng teams iba, iba ang labanan so abangan natin. It’s gonna be a long, long tournament pa madami pa pwedeng mangyari

“Marami pa rin kaming unforced errors. I think we also need to work on our service and then siguro defense,” said the graduating Valdez.

“But then very obvious naman kanina na sobrang nag-work din ang blocking so we’re really happy with Bea de leon and Kiwi,”

Amy Ahomiro scored back-to-back service aces to seal the win for the Lady Eagles.

Cherry Rondina, the league best scorer in the first round, was limited to 11 points for the Tigresses.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada