Ateneo upsets De La Salle, wins first UAAP volleyball crown
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – We have new queens of UAAP Volleyball.
The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles captured the 76th UAAP Women’s Volleyball title as they swept the De La Salle University Lady Spikers, 25-23, 26-24, 25-21, in the winner-take-all Finals Game 4, Saturday, March 15, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Katipunan Avenue crew – who had to overcome a thrice-to-beat handicap against the defending champions – rallied behind the efforts of Season 76 MVP Alyssa Valdez who finished with 21 points while Michelle Morente and Ella de Jesus added 11 and 10 to tow Ateneo to its first-ever UAAP Volleyball title.
Valdez, who averaged close to 19 points in the Finals series, was also adjudged the Finals Most Valuable Player.
She led the Lady Eagles over the four-peat seeking La Salle, winning Games 1 and 3 before wrapping up the series in Game 4.
Both squads played all-out from the get-go, exchanging points all throughout the opening frame but Valdez and Ella De Jesus hit crucial points down the stretch to turn a 21-all knot into a 25-23 first set win.
De La Salle looked to turn things around in the second set as they cruised to a 17-10 lead but they crumbled under pressure later on and committed a pile of errors allowing the Lady Eagles to get within three, 20-23 and steal the heart-stopping set, 26-24.
Gaining steam from their good showing in the first two frames, Ateneo went on to control the game as they broke away from a 9-all deadlock and never looked back, with Ella de Jesus’ hit putting them seven points up and just five points away from completing their upset of La Salle.
The Taft Avenue squad, however, tried a last-gasp effort, scoring three unanswered points courtesy of Aby Marano, Mika Reyes, and Ara Galang, but it was the closest they could get to as Valdez caught fire and delivered the knockout blows for a 25-21 third set win.
“Sobrang worth it talaga ng lahat ng pinaghirapan namin. Inexpect lang namin Final Four lang kami kaya sobrang thankful naming talaga,” Valdez, who tallied in 18 attacks and two service aces, said after the game.
Galang led the way for La Salle with 11 points but she did not receive enough backing with no other Lady Spiker scoring in double figures.
Meanwhile, Denden Lazaro put on another thrilling performance on defense, contributing 15 excellent digs while Julia Morado completed 24 excellent sets for Ateneo. – Rappler.com