MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles kept their title-defense bid alive in the UAAP Season 84 after a hard-earned sweep of the gutsy Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-20, 28-26, 25-22, in the women’s volleyball playoff match at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, June 11.
Jaja Maraguinot steered the offense with 21 excellent sets as Ateneo advanced to the stepladder semifinals against the No. 3 UST Golden Tigresses on Tuesday, June 14, at 6:30 pm, still at the MOA Arena.
Faith Nisperos topscored with a whopping 22-point outing in just three sets, while AC Miner – who erupted for 8 blocks last game against UP – came one point shy of her career-high with 16 points, while Vanie Gandler scored 9.
Adamson looked down for the count late the in the second set after Nisperos scored down the line for a 24-20 Ateneo lead. However, Trisha Genesis spearheaded a 4-0 set point-saving run for the 24-all tie, before Krisch Macaslang seized set point for Adamson, 25-24.
Unfazed by the meltdown, Nisperos, Gandler, and Miner conspired for a 3-0 blitz after a 26-25 Genesis set point score for a 28-26 breakaway win and the commanding 2-0 lead.
Despite the heartbreaking set loss, the Lady Falcons hung tough in the final frame, and even led, 22-21, after being buoyed by Ateneo’s attack errors.
Ever the leader, Nisperos restored order with back-to-back points before Miner followed up with a regalo, and a game-winning block on Almonte to secure Ateneo’s spot in the stepladder.
“When we won against UP, and Adamson won against La Salle, we said we just wanted to win cleanly, and convincingly enter the Final Four,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro in Filipino. “So we prepared mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We said we needed to win cleanly and the girls stepped up.”
Trisha Genesis got checked in the season-ending loss with just 13 points on an 11-of-37 attack clip. No other Lady Falcon breached double-digit scoring as Lucille Almonte scored 9, while Rizza Cruz added 7.
Adamson goes home with an 8-6 elimination round record – falling just one win short of its first Final Four appearance in eight years. – Rappler.com