ATENEO and College of St. Benilde secured the last two semifinal berths in the PVL Collegiate Conference on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan.
Ateneo routed University of Perpetual Help, 25-18, 25-9, 25-17, to earn the last semis ticket in Pool A.
After bowing to Adamson last week, their first loss of the tournament, the Lady Eagles got back on track as it got a boost with the return of Faith Nisperos.
A viral infection kept Nisperos out of the match against the Lady Falcons but was solid against the Lady Altas, nailing 14 kills and finishing with 15 points.
Team captain Ponggay Gaston delivered 11 points laced with 11 digs as Ateneo dealt Perpetual Help its fourth defeat in five matches.
Vanie Gandler and Joan Narit added eight markers each, while Jaja Maraguinot dished out 22 excellent sets on top of five points.
“Nabahiran ang pride but of course one game will not determine your character,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro after their bounce back victory.
“It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you end it. The year’s just starting and I’m still optimistic that my players will be cohesive in time, courageous in time.“
Ateneo faces University of Sto. Tomas in the best-of-three semifinals starting on Sept. 28.
“I think the advantage of UST, the young players that they have may mga championship experience na,” Almadro said. “But of course as I always say great teams will just push us forward. No matter what maging matapang lang at magkaroon ng faith.”
Meanwhile, St. Benilde made short work of Technological Institute of the Philippines, 25-13, 25-16, 25-9 to take the No. 2 spot in Pool B.
Diane Ventura led the Lady Blazers with 10 points as the Lady Engineer went winless in five matches.
Jade Gentapa scored eight and Chelsea Umali added seven for CSB.
Winning four of their five outings, the Lady Blazers are the only NCAA team to reach the semifinals, facing unbeaten Adamson Lady Falcons.
“Big names 'yan kumbaga so we have to tell ourselves na lalaro lang tayo, execute lang tayo hopefully magagawa namin 'yun,” said CSB head coach Jerry Yee. “We'd like na lalaro lang tayo NCAA ba 'yan o UAAP ba 'yan, we shouldn't care too much na maglalaro lang tayo the best way we can.”
Earlier, back-to-back conference silver medalist Far Eastern University (3-2) took down Lyceum (1-4), 21-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19, to finish its PVL stint on a high note.
France Ronquillo led the Lady Tamaraws with 18 points. Czarina Carandang had 14 points, while Gel Cayuna had 19 excellent sets and eight points.