ALYSSA Valdez showed the way for Ateneo as the Lady Eagles kept their semifinals bid alive in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference after it turned back Cagayan Valley, 17-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19, Sunday night at The Arena in San Juan.
The 21-year old pride of San Juan, Batangas poured in 24 points, capped by winning back-to-back hits that proved to be the winning points for the Lady Eagles.
Amy Ahomiro contributed 12 for Ateneo as the reigning UAAP champion won for the third straight time and improved its record to 3-5 for fifth place.
More importantly, the Lady Eagles moved within striking distance behind fourth-ranked Cagayan (4-3), which has three more games left in the quarterfinals.
“Sana, sana magtuluy-tuloy itong panalo namin pero syempre one game at a time pa rin. Focus lang sa kung sinong next na makakalaban,” said Valdez.
The Ateneo skipper bailed the Lady Eagles out of a 20-24 hole in the third set to post a 27-25 win.
From a close 10-8 contest in the fourth, the Ateneo gained momentum as Valdez once again scored back-to-back power hits to widen the gap at 12-8 and never looked back from there.
The charismatic Ateneo star said the Lady Eagles went back to basics but acknowledged it was their supporters who made the difference as they made up half of the crowd that trooped to the venue.
“Nagbalik lang kami sa basic, 'yung service receive lang namin. Pero ang laking tulong talaga ng fans, sila ang nagbibigay sa amin ng energy, 'yung effort nila at yung presence nila, 'yun talaga," said Valdez.
Aiza Maizo came up with 20 points -- all from spikes -- for Cagayan.