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MANILA, Philippines – The defending UAAP women’s volleyball champion Ateneo Blue Eagles turned back the win-hungry UE Lady Warriors in a 25-16, 25-22, 25-11 sweep at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, June 2.
Vanie Gandler continued her strong season as one of the team’s few veterans with a game-high 15 points off 14 attacks and an ace, plus 9 excellent receptions, and 6 excellent digs.
Leading scorer Faith Nisperos added 13 points in the balanced effort while Joan Narit and AC Miner scored 8 each as Ateneo rose to a 6-5 record to tie Adamson in fourth place, aptly right before the Eagles-Falcons showdown on Saturday, June 4 at 6:30 pm.
Still winless in 11 games, the Lady Warriors poured their heart out in the second set, and managed to briefly lead the Blue Eagles, 16-15, before keeping an 18-all tie off a Miner net touch.
However, a pair of Dara Nieva errors proved costly in the endgame as Ateneo used the UE miscues to create a pivotal 23-18 separation off a 5-0 run, capped by a Nisperos crosscourt kill before Narit clinched the 2-0 set lead, 25-22.
With momentum on their side, the champs soared to a 14-5 start in the final frame, highlighted by a Gandler kill. UE top scorer Ja Lana scored what would be the Lady Warriors’ last point at 11-20 before Gandler fired off a personal 4-0 finishing kick.
“They really want to finish it right today, start strong, finish strong. It’s preparation for the future games,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro.
Only four Lady Warriors managed to score this game, with Lana’s 11-point effort once again leading the way, followed by Rhea Manalo’s 7.
Nieva scored 5 and Lia Pelaga chipped in 3 as UE now looks ahead to a long-shot upset bid of second-seeded La Salle on Saturday, 4 pm. – Rappler.com