MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles kicked off the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament second round on a positive note with a four-set win over the UE Lady Warriors, 25-16, 25-23, 22-25, 25-19, to spark their first winning streak at the PhilSports Arena on Saturday, March 25.
Faith Nisperos topscored with 18 points off 13 attacks and 5 of Ateneo’s season-high 14 blocks in the win for a 3-5 record, while UE once again fell short to lag down to a 0-8 slate. Prior to this defensive eruption, the Blue Eagles were only seventh in total team blocks.
Five other Eagles scored at least 8 points, including Geezel Tsunashima who came off the bench in all four sets.
After letting go of the third set and its shot for a sweep, Ateneo got its act together midway through the fourth with an 11-3 spurt, capped with an AC Miner running attack to turn an 11-10 UE lead to a 21-14 turnaround gap.
UE only got as near as 19-23 before a Tsunashima crosscourt kill and a Lyann de Guzman hit off an overreceive sealed the deal for the Eagles’ side.
Overall, the game was a lengthy two-hour, 13-minute affair despite only reaching four sets as the UAAP fully implemented the video challenge system for the first time since the ill-fated Season 82 tournament in 2020.
“Well, of course, we’re happy we won, and what’s important is we put up the confidence,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro in Filipino.
“We still had times where we’re doubting ourselves on what we want or need to do, but what’s important is we win. Three, four, five sets, we’ll take the win especially now in the second round.”
KC Cepada and Ja Lana matched Nisperos with a pair of game-high 18-point outings in the loss. Lana accounted for 5 of UE’s 9 aces to go with 13 attacks, while Cepada also had 3 aces to go with 15 spikes.
Ateneo takes on the second-ranked Adamson Lady Falcons after a one-week rest on Saturday, April 1 at 2 pm, at the Mall of Asia Arena before the league goes on a Holy Week break.
UE, meanwhile, returns on Wednesday, March 29, 12 pm, to take on fourth-placer UST Golden Tigresses, also at the MOA Arena. – Rappler.com
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