MANILA, Philippines – Rookie AC Miner had the game of her young life when she was needed most as she dropped 17 points powered by 8 blocks in the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ four-set win over the UP Fighting Maroons, 19-25, 25-11, 25-18, 25-19, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, June 9.
With the win that hiked their record to 8-6, the defending champions kept their title defense alive and arranged a playoff for the No. 4 spot against the Adamson Lady Falcons (8-6) on Saturday, June 11 at 5 pm.
The winner will take on the third-seeded UST (9-5) in the stepladder semifinals – the format in the next phase after NU completed a 14-0 sweep of the elimination round to clinch an outright finals berth. La Salle (10-4) secured the second spot, which comes with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Faith Nisperos led Ateneo in scoring once again with 19 points off 16 attacks, 2 blocks, and an ace, while Vanie Gandler and Erika Raagas scored 14 and 12, respectively.
Following a stunning first-set loss to the also-ran Maroons, the Blue Eagles woke up quickly from their stupor, and turned a 13-9 lead in the second to a 25-11 demolition off a 12-2 finishing kick.
With nothing to lose, the Alyssa Bertolano-led UP kept having its comeback moments in the latter two sets, but Ateneo hung tough as four straight Gandler points ended the game in favor of the champs.
Bertolano ended her stellar rookie campaign with a 24-point bomb in the loss, while Jewel Encarnacion scored 18 as the Maroons settled at sixth place with a 5-9 record. – Rappler.com