Ateneo ousts NU to clinch Final Four berth
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Ateneo Lady Eagles got a bit of a scare before finally securing the first Final Four berth in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Eagles turned back a young but pesky National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs in 4 sets, 25-14, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19, to secure their 10th straight semifinal stint with a league-best 10-1 record on Sunday, April 7, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Jules Samonte tallied a season-high of 13 points while making 19 excellent digs as she led 4 other Lady Eagles who scored double-digits.
Head coach Oliver Almadro admitted that the Lady Eagles had a slightly off day, but hopes that it would be the last.
“Medyo slow kami ngayon. It’s because parang alam niyo naman, law of averages. I guess ito na yun, sana. Sana we peak at the right time na. Marami pa rin kaming adjustment na kailangan i-perfect sa ginagawa namin,” said Almadro.
(We were a bit slow today because it’s the law of averages. I guess this is it. I hope we peak at the right time. We still have a lot of adjustments that we need to perfect.)
NU rookies Ivy Lacsina and Princess Robles continued to lead the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points apiece.
Although Ateneo ousted NU from playoff contention after it fell to 3-8, the Lady Bulldogs didn’t go out without a fight.
The No. 1 Lady Eagles – the hottest team riding on a 10-game winning streak – took control from the get-go and seemed liked headed for a quick win after a lopsided 25-14 opening frame.
But the Lady Bulldogs put up a challenge in the 2nd set as they took a 9-8 lead.
Ateneo had a spurt of errors that stretched the NU lead to 12-9, but the Lady Eagles rallied back with a 4-0 run to resume control of the game.
Gelina Luceño lifted the Lady Bulldogs with 3 straight attacks and Princess Robles tied the score at 18-all.
The Lady Eagles reached set point first, 24-23, but NU extended the set and closed it out with a 3-0 run, 26-24, to level the match.
NU rode on its solid second-set momentum, but the Lady Eagles raced back to take the lead, 8-6. Samonte and Maddie Madayag powered the Ateneo breakaway, 25-17, for a 2-1 match advantage.
But NU again made it a tight duel in the 4th frame. Midway, though, Ateneo escaped the deadlock thanks to a 6-1 run that gave it a four-point cushion, 18-14.
Although NU got within two points, 20-18, the Lady Eagles sealed the win with a 5-1 run. – Rappler.com
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