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Ateneo pull off impressive debut win againt NU

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The Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles shook off an early slump and handled the National University Lady Bulldogs in straight sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-14, in their first match of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre earlier today.

NU threw everything they had at the Lady Eagles right from the first point. With the Ateneo defense adjusting, NU pounced and took a five-point lead, 16-11. Ateneo team captain Alyssa Valdez then took over, scoring from all angles. Valdez notched seven of Ateneo’s last eight points, including two consecutive aces that sealed the set.

The Lady Bulldogs recovered and worked off Ateneo’s early miscues to get another advantage. Ahead by six, 15-9, NU’s ball control collapsed. Through attacks from Amy Ahomiro and Jho Maraguinot, Ateneo hacked away at the deficit and took an 18-17 lead. Coming off a timeout,NU’s performance only continued to spiral downward. Ateneo again went to Valdez to close the set out. The former MVP scored three of Ateneo’s last four points to cap another resounding comeback. With morale visibly low from their previous setbacks, the Lady Bulldogs barely put up a fight in the third set.

Valdez tallied a game-high 18 points, while sophomore middle blocckers Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon contributed 13 and 10 markers respectively.

“This is just the first game of the season and I think there are things to work on and improve pa. We were lucky that the breaks went our way,” said Valdez. “We’re still really happy na we played really well aginst such a strong team like NU.”

Ateneo tallied their 19th consecutive UAAP win, dating back to the Season 76 Finals.

NU’s Myla Pablo and Jaja Santiago each managed 11 points, while Jorelle Singh added six. The Bulldogs also shuffled through all their setters – Rica Diolan, Asi Soliven, and Ivy Perez – but no one played well.

The Lady Eagles next take on the UST Tigresses on Sunday, February 7 on 2 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre. NU have the Adamson Lady Falcons on Saturday, February 6 on 4 p.m. at the PhilSports Arena.

The Scores

ADMU (3) – Valdez 18, Madayag 13, De Leon 10, Maraguinot 7, Ahomiro 6, Morado 2, Gequillana 0, Tan (L)

NU (0) – Pablo 11, Santiago 11, Signh 6, Nabor 3, Abriam 3, Urdas 2, Soliven 0, Diolan 0, General (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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