ATENEO continued to gather momentum om Sunday, taking down University of the Philippines, 25-21, 25-15, 28-26, to seize the solo lead in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Eagles turned the highly anticipated Battle of Katipunan into a one-way match, cruising to their fourth straight win as the Lady Maroons fell flat days after a big win over defending champion De La Salle.
The Lady Maroons didn't show signs of life until the third set behind Aie Gannaban, Marist Layug and second stringer Marian Buitre, who nailed a service ace that put UP at set point, 26-25.
Maddie Madayag had an emphatic block on Layug to stave off set point for the Lady Eagles before an attack error by UP's Justine Dorog and Deanna Wong’s game-winning drop ball gave Ateneo the solo lead on a 4-1 win-loss record.
Madayag led the Lady Eagles with 14 points highlighted by six blocks. Kat Tolentino delivered 12 points to go with 14 digs while Ponggay Gaston added 10 markers and as many as receptions.
“Mahirap ang game na ito kasi alam mo UP, high morale, they really played well, they really fought hard,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. “Sabi ko sa kanila, whatever you really want to happen, it can happen as long as you really want it and you can get it.”
“I really admire my players, they really played well, sometimes I let them study on their own, talk on their own, alam nila ano gagawin nila, and I’m really teaching them how to be responsible,” added Almadro.
Ateneo's win dropped UP down to the fifth place with a 3-2 slate behind FEU, De La Salle and UST, which have identical 4-2 cards in a tightly bunched leaderboard.
Women’s national pool member Tots Carlos was the lone UP player to score in double figures with 10 points despite being benched midway through the third set. Gannaban had seven hits, while U-23 captain Isa Molde struggled with six points.
UP faced a lot of problems before and during the game as Justine Dorog fainted due to dysmenorrhea prior to the game. She was able to return to the Arena and contributed four markers.
Libero Rem Altomea suffered a right ankle sprain early in the second set but also returned to action finishing with 15 excellent receptions and 11 digs.