Alyssa Valdez dropped a season-high 30 points and led the Lady Eagles in another five-set nail biter over the Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-17, 17-25, 25-14, 22-25, 15-10 at the MoA Arena.
The Lady Falcons struggled in the game but managed to hang with the defending champs as the Lady Eagles gave up 33 errors. The Lady Eagles however shined with their league-leading offense, holding a 62-47 advantage in spiking.
AdU hung tough to begin the match, countering ADMU’s supreme height advantage with steady block coverage. Ateneo’s seven early errors put them at a 12-16 disadvantage. With Valdez at the service area, Ateneo climbed back to take the lead, 18-16. From there, Adamson jimmied up multiple attack errors, allowing Ateneo to swoop in and take the set.
Ateneo gave up more errors to begin the second frame, surrendering three early errors and allowing Adamson to grab a 9-4 lead. Amanda Villanueva built off a stellar first set, rifling off multiple spikes to push AdU’s lead to 16-10. Ateneo piled on seven more errors that increased the deficit to 14-23. Ateneo threatened to make a late push but Adamson immediately doused their fire with two quick attacks to seal the set.
Ateneo started the third set hot, gathering four service aces early to erect a 9-4 lead. As the Lady Eagles cleaned up their reception and digging, the Lady Falcons had multiple errors which increased Ateneo’s lead to 20-7. Adamson’s offensive rally came too late as Ateneo’s Bea De Leon and Jhoana Maraguinot put the third set out of doubt.
Down two sets to one, Adamson maintained a slim one-point margin early in the fourth set. Ateneo reverted back to coughing up more errors, allowing Adamson to take a 21-16 lead. Ateneo climbed all the way back and tied the set at 21 by tightening up their play at the net. The Lady Eagles then gave up three more errors, opening the door for Adamson to force a fifth set. The Lady Eagles gave up a total of 12 errors in the set.
The fifth set had both teams trading hit after hit. Adamson had the lead at 9-8 before Ateneo scored thrice to grab the lead. From there the Lady Falcons coughed up crucial errors and mistimed hits which sealed the game for the Lady Eagles.
Adamson’s Jessica Galanza bounced back after dismal outings in previous losses with 17 points while her fellow sophomore Mylene Paat pitched in 15. Graduating Villanueva did most of the damage for AdU late in sets and wound up with 16.
“Di namin iniisip iyung sweep, we take it one game at a time. Kung masweep man, blessing na yun sa amin. For now, we prepare for our next opponents, ” said Ateneo team manager Anthony Liao.
The Lady Eagles are still on track to sweep the elimination round with a 9-0 record. Adamson drops to 7th with a 3-6 record. Ateneo has UP up next on Saturday at the San Juan Arena while Adamson will face UE on Feb. 1, also at the San Juan Arena.
Ateneo – Valdez 30, De Jesus 12, Ahomiro 12, De Leon 9, Maraguinot 9, Morado 5, Gequillana 1, Lazaro (L) 0
AdU – Galanza 17, Villanueva 16, Paat 15, Alkuino 7, Guevara 3, Emnas 2, Dacoron 2, Templatura (L) 0, Roque 0, Cortel 0, Lebumfacil 0