Ateneo stays alive vs UST, forces title rubbermatch
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ateneo more than made sure that its spectacular season run won’t go to waste that quickly.
After an embarrassing straight-set drubbing the previous game, the Ateneo Lady Eagles bounced back with a four-set equalizer, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, against the UST Golden Tigresses in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball finals on Wednesday, May 15, at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena.
Ateneo's star trio rediscovered their fiery form as Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, and Kat Tolentino again spearheaded the top seed's assault to force a winner-take-all for the crown.
Madayag led the comeback charge with 17 points off 10 attacks, 4 blocks and 3 aces.
De Leon and Tolentino added 13 and 11 markers, respectively, while Dani Ravena anchored the defense with 22 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions.
“I just really wanted to guide them and remind them how hard we worked for today, that we’re prepared, we’re ready and all these sacrifices all these months have prepared us for this day,” De Leon said in the post-game presser.
“I just really want to remind my team so that we believe in ourselves and we believe in each other.”
After falling in a hard-fought opening set, UST gave Ateneo a Game 1 flashback with a 25-14 bounce-back.
However, disaster struck for the yellow side as newly crowned Rookie of the Year Eya Laure crumpled with an apparent left ankle sprain at the beginning of Set 3. She had to be carried by her father out of the court and would not return until Ateneo led, 20-18.
By then, it was too little, too late as the Lady Eagles let their momentum carry them over the set, 25-21.
UST's fire was completely extinguished by the 4th frame as the Lady Eagles soared to a 20-8 lead off an assortment of aces, blocks and kills led by Madayag and De Leon.
Season MVP Sisi Rondina powered the Tigresses with 22 points while Laure added 10 despite her ankle injury.
Both squads will put it all on the line one more time in Game 3 on Saturday, May 18, still at the MOA Arena. – Rappler.com