ATENEO sustained the momentum of its playoff romp over San Sebastian as it shocked top seed Far Eastern U, 25-14, 28-26, 25-22, on Monday at the Philsports Arena to move closer to an unlikely Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference Finals in the post Alyssa Valdez era.
The Lady Eagles pounced on Bernadeth Pons’ sidelining to dominate the opening frame then came back from 21-24 down in the second to steal the set before stamping their class in the third to take the opener of their best-of-three semifinal series.
The win avenged Ateneo’s three-straight loss to FEU in the last quarterfinals playdate that dropped the two-time champion Lady Eagles to a playoff for the last semis seat with the Lady Stags, whom they smothered in three last Saturday.
The Loyola-based spikers sustained their form in their return bout with the Lady Tams while taking advantage of the absence of Pons, who sprained her left ankle during warm-up and failed to see action.
Skipper Michelle Morente and Bea de Leon came away with 13 hits apiece while Kim Gequillna and Ana Gopico backed them up with 12 and 11 points, respectively, as the Lady Eagles continued to buck the odds following the graduation of Valdez.
“I gave it my best shot and we just did what we do in training,” said Morante
Without Pons, the Lady Tams struggled on offense while failing to neutralize the Lady Eagles’ attack with sloppy reception and a series of miscues.