MANILA, Philippines – In what could be the most exhilarating game of the season so far, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles needed all five sets to beat the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses, 15-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 15-13 in the 76th UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Wednesday evening, January 8, at The Arena in San Juan.
The volleybelles of Katipunan banked on the heroics of Alyssa Valdez as her 28 points from 25 attacks proved to be enough to outlast a gritty UST squad and extend their winning streak to 5 games.
While it was just another day at the office for Valdez, her teammates did not have as smooth an afternoon as Ateneo’s next topscorers Ana Gopico and Marge Tejada only had 7 markers apiece to show.
The Tigresses drew first blood as they started the game with a volleyball clinic, making all the right moves on the floor as the shell-shocked Ateneo squad struggled to keep pace.
Coach Odjie Mamon’s girls however relaxed a bit in the second frame as they let the Lady Eagles get back in the game, with Valdez showing off her full arsenal to level the sets to 1-all.
Wanting to snap out of a 2-game losing skid, the Tigresses did all they could to check Valdez as the third set became a duel between the Ateneo skipper and Marivic Meneses. Their gamble paid off as they took the set, 25-22, even with Carmela Tunay seeing limited minutes in the crucial frame.
Fans were treated to a nail-biter as both teams played to their full potential. UST stamped its net-minding edge but Valdez displayed her brilliance all-game long to tie the game once more at 2-2, 25-20.
Late in the fourth frame, Ateneo was dealt a huge blow as Gopico went down after twisting her right knee but the Lady Eagles came out fighting in the final set, taking the game, 15-13.
The Lady Eagles dominated the attacks department, 57-49, but it was UST who won the battle near the net, tallying in 15 blocks to ADMU’s 5.
Pam Lastimosa led the Tigresses with 23 markers as Tunay added 17.
With the hard-earned win, Ateneo rises to tie National University for second place at 5-1 while UST continues to have a subpar season, winning only 2 games in 6 outings. -Rappler.com