DLSU DLSU’s Thea Gagate tries to score off UP’s Ethan Arce and Steph Bustrillo during their UAAP women’s volleyball match yesterday. UAAP photo

Ateneo keeps hopes alive

May 31, 2022 Theodore P. Jurado 191 views

ATENEO caught University of Santo Tomas on its worst form in a 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 victory that kept the defending champions very much in the Final Four race n the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

It was the Tigresses’ first straight-set loss of the season, as the Blue Eagles were aggressive on both ends of the floor.

With its fifth win in 10 matches, Ateneo remained a game behind Adamson, which improved to 6-4 following a 25-17, 25-17, 25-16 rout of Far Eastern University, in the race for the last Final Four berth.

Now at 7-3, UST fell in a tie with La Salle, which bested University of the Philippines, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, in the third match, at No. 2, making the race for second twice-to-beat slot in the Final Four too close to call.

As the Blue Eagles remained on course of making it to the next round, coach Oliver Almadro was satisfied with the way his troops delivered in the must-win game.

“Sabi lang namin sa isa’t isa we have to take this win home, pero indeed, they want to take this win home. We’re not looking at it na kailangan straight sets e, we just did our job,” said Almadro.

Faith Nisperos dropped 18 points off 15 attacks along with seven receptions, Vanie Gandler and Joan Narit chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Jaja Maraguinot tossed 16 excellent sets for Ateneo.

Also providing the spark in the Blue Eagles’ surprising sweep is rookie middle blocker AC Miner, who came through with eight points.

“We prepared for this, nag manifest naman sa mga kilos ng bata. May mga lapses pero nakakarecover right away. We don’t mind kung ilang sets, ‘di namin napansin na matatapos na pala in straight sets so we just grabbed it,” added Almadro.

Eya Laure led the Tigresses charge with 14 points along with 14 receptions and six digs.

Alleiah Malaluan continue to sparkle for the Lady Spikers with 14 points, including two service aces, and seven receptions, while Thea Gagate had two blocks for a 12-point effort.

Jewel Encarnacion scored 16 points for the Fighting Maroons, who dropped to 4-6, two games out of the No. 4 spot.

As the Blue Eagles kept within striking distance with the Lady Falcons, coach Lerma Giron is trying to keep her wards in focus on what’s currently on the table.

“Yun, talagang pinaghandaan namin ito nung nakaraang two days na interval. Talagang gusto namin kunin itong game na ito. Unti unti, one game at a time para papunta doon sa Final Four na gusto ng lahat na marating,” said Giron after disparching the Lady Tamaraws in one hour and 26 minutes.

Trisha Genesis led Adamson swith 14 points and nine receptions, May Ann Nique had 12 points and nine digs, while Rizza Cruz and Kate Santiago each had 11 points.

With its ninth loss in 10 matches, FEU ended a streak of five consecutive Final Four appearance which started in the 2014-15 season.

Chenie Tagaod scored 14 points for the Lady Tamaraws.