UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas got its title-retention campaign back on track by beating crowd favorite Ateneo, 21-18, 21-18 in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament at the SM Sands by the Bay on Friday.
Reigning MVP Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera proved steadier in the big points to hand Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan their second consecutive loss after the Lady Eagles duo started the tournament with four consecutive wins.
Valdez and Tan's other loss came at the hands of rival La Salle.
After winning their third game in a row from a shaky 1-2 start, the Tigresses moved to a share of third place with La Salle and Ateneo - just behind joint leaders Adamson and Far Eastern University (both 4-1).
The Lady Falcons pair of Mylene Paat and Jessica Galanza dominated National University's Jaja Santiago and Jasmine Nabor, 21-15, 21-16, while Lady Tamaraws Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza bested University of the Philippines' Arielle Estranero and Vina Alinas, 21-10, 19-21, 15-8.
Meanwhile, in the men's division, Ateneo moved a step closer to clinching an outright finals berth with thrice-to-beat advantage after remaining unbeaten in six matches.
Blue Eagles Marck Espejo and Ysay Marasigan dealt UST duo Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto their first loss, 19-21, 21-18, 15-10.
Ateneo has one more assignment in the elimination round on Saturday morning against University of the East and a win by the Blue Eagles will earn them a seat in the championship armed with a thrice-to-beat bonus.
Meanwhile, NU duo Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong barely broke a sweat in their win over La Salle tandem Levin Dimayuga and Carlo Sendo, 21-18, 21-12.