Ateneo soars as UP loses stalwart Isa Molde to injury
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ateneo conquered a University of the Philippines (UP) side that lost its top player in the UAAP Season 81 volleyball tournament’s Battle of Katipunan.
The Lady Eagles dominated the Lady Maroons – who lost Isa Molde to an ankle injury in the 2nd set – in another straight-set win, 25-23, 25-16, 25-23, on Saturday, March 30, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kat Tolentino led the Ateneo pack with 15 points off 11 attacks, 3 blocks and 1 ace.
As Ateneo streaked to its eighth straight victory, the Lady Eagles strengthened their hold of the No. 1 spot with an 8-1 record while UP fell to 5th place with a 5-4 slate.
Molde, one of the team’s top scorers, suffered an injury after colliding with teammate Mary Bautista and landing awkwardly on her left leg. The UP stalwart was stretchered off the court and never returned to the game.
UP challenged the Lady Eagles in the 1st set but Ateneo took the lead after back-to-back attacks by Ponggay Gaston and Bea de Leon, 16-14.
The Lady Maroons’ crucial errors towards the end of set allowed Ateneo to take the opening frame, 25-23.
As Ateneo got off to a 4-0 start in the next set, Molde sustained an injury that halted play and visibly left the Lady Maroons shell-shocked.
Ateneo zoomed to a 10-1 advantage and cruised to 25-16 set win for a 2-0 match lead.
The Lady Maroons, though, regained their poise in the 3rd set even minus Molde and stayed within striking distance of the Lady Eagles.
Three straight errors by Ateneo gave UP a fighting chance, and later, back-to-back attacks by Marian Buitre gave UP the edge, 14-13.
Both teams brought the game down to the wire before Ateneo leaned on its veterans to break the deadlock before Jules Samonte ended the match with a kill.
Even if the Lady Eagles felt grateful for the win, they weren’t satisfied with their error-plagued performance.
“As you can see naman na dami naming errors. In the 1st set pa lang, ang dami naming service errors actually, and not just the service errors, pati ’yung mga attacks namin, execution namin,” said Maddie Madayag.
(As you can see, we had a lot of errors. In the 1st set, we had a lot of service errors actually, and not just the service errors, but also on the execution of our attacks.)
“I don’t know. I guess it’s gigil (overexcitement), like you can see the frustration in everyone like ‘Why can’t I do my job properly?”
Tots Carlos led UP’s balanced scoring effort with 8 points as Marian Buitre and Justine Dorog tallied 6 points apiece. – Rappler.com