Ateneo downs Adamson to set rematch with La Salle
MANILA, Philippines - Ateneo de Manila University charged back into the finals after escaping Adamson University in their 75th UAAP women's volleyball Final Four battle Saturday at the jampacked Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Down 23-19 late in the third, the Lady Eagles rallied behind Alyssa Valdez to complete the pulsating 25-23, 25-23, 26-24 win that set them up a rematch with archrival De La Salle University in the finals starting March 2.
UAAP scoring leader Valdez shone bright with 22 points off 20 kills and two blocks in a brilliant offensive performance in just 3 sets.
"Naka-set sa mind namin na naghihirap kami sa practice at lima ang ga-graduate after this season," Valdez said. "Pinaghirapan namin 'to kaya siguro nasa finals kami." (Our mind was set on the fact that we work hard during practice and 5 of us are graduating after this season. We worked hard for this that's why we are we are perhaps in the finals.)
And in this match against the Lady Falcons, they surely had a hard time.
Adamson actually controlled much of the match, only to fade at crunch time, when Ateneo's gunners began to rise to the challenge.
The Lady Falcons led 15-10 in the opening set after a Pau Soriano attack but the Lady Eagles tied it at 18-all off a Valdez hit.
Coach Roger Gorayeb then pulled off a surprise, inserting rookies Gizelle Tan and Amy Ahomiro for Jem Ferrer and Dzi Gervacio to help solve Ateneo's net defense problems.
The gamble paid off, as an Ahomiro dump put the Lady Eagles up, 23-22, before Mayette Zapanta was turned back to hand the set to Ateneo, 25-23.
It was virtually the same story in the second and third sets, as the Lady Falcons wasted leads in falling out of the playoffs after an impressive run in the elims.
Gervacio supported Valdez with 10 points while Cainglet and Ho added 8 and 6 points, respectively, for the Lady Eagles, who scored their fifth win in the last 6 games.
On the other hand, Soriano ended her UAAP career with a solid 17 points, highlighted by 12 kills and 5 blocks but Shiela Pineda's guns fell silent when it mattered most, and could only finish with 9 markers. - Rappler.com