Following an eventful loss on opening weekend, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles flexed their height advantage to outlast the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, 25-21, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22, for their first win in the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Ateneo found themselves behind early in the first two sets, but used their blocking to bury the Tigresses. The Tigresses lost hold of a 14-12 lead in the first set, as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag propelled the Lady Eagles with a 4-0 run. UST fumbled errors the rest of the way. Madayag then struck in the second set, scoring five times in a run that gave her squad a 21-14 lead.
UST received an early boost from Alina Bicar in the third set. The setter served five aces and guided UST to an insurmountable 7-0 start. Ateneo then seemed to have control of the fourth set, blitzing UST 8-2. But the Tigresses slowly crawled back, taking advantage of transition chances, getting to as close as one, 23-22. Kat Tolentino then gave the Lady Eagles reprieve with a down-the-line kill, which set up Milena Alessandrini’s game-clinching attack error.
“I’m very proud of my team’s resiliency,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro, who picked up his first win in the women’s division
“The third set, I guess, we just waited for them (UST) to make a mistake. My players needed a spark. With that said, we really have to focus on starting and ending sets right,” continued the three-time UAAP champion coach.
Kat Tolentino continued to lead the Lady Eagles with 20 points. Maddie Madayag finished with 15 points off nine attacks and six blocks.
Sisi Rondina managed 20 points off 19 attacks, while rookie sensation Eya Laure was held to 12 points.
Both squads play their next matches on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Tigresses (1-1) first face the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons (1-0). Afterwards, the Lady Eagles (1-1) take on the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws (1-0) in a rematch of last season’s Final Four.
ADMU (3) – Tolentino 22, Madayag 15, De Leon 6, Gaston 6, Samonte 5, Wong 1, Gandler 0, Maraguinot 0, Raagas 0, Gequillana (L)
UST (1) – Rondina 20, Laure 12, Alessandrini 10, Bicar 8, Viray 5, Balcorta 2, Galdones 2, Galanza 1, Jimenez 1, Roldan 1, Tuazon 1, Delerio (L)