Seemingly rejuvenated by the two-day rest, the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles emphatically rebounded from their first loss off the season, handing the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Tigresses a quick sweep in Game Three of their Shakey’s V-League Semifinals series, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Last Sunday, the Lady Eagles had a rough time countering UST’s attacks due to their inept floor defense and lack of effort. According to Ateneo Team Captain, Alyssa Valdez, the Lady Eagles resorted to their happy brand of volleyball to pull-off today’s much needed victory.
“We just focused and trained hard the past few days. We prepared and reminded ourselves to play happy. Sabi nga ni coach [Tai] kailangan 100% ‘yung attention namin parati sa game kasi everyone else is playing very well na,” the UAAP MVP said.
Ateneo’s gleeful play resulted to emphatic wins in all three sets with UST unable to keep affairs close, with Ateneo’s defense accounted for all their best options. Last SVL conference’s MVP, Valdez led the Loyola change with 19 points, mostly doing damage with her drop shots and off-speed hits. Valdez fired an efficient 16 for 32 attacking clip, and added two aces and a block for good measure.
Middle blockers, Amy Ahomiro and Bea De Leon each contributed nine points, while Jhoana Maraguinot chipped in six markers. The Lady Eagles outperformed UST in all offensive skills, tallying 32 attacks to UST’s 27, blocking nine hits to UST’s two, and delivering seven aces to the Tigresses’ four. The Ladies from Katipunan also lessened their errors to just 21, as UST coughed up 27.
The win sent Ateneo to the SVL Finals, where they will face the NU Lady Bulldogs. Two years ago, both squads faced-off in the Finals with a veteran NU side bringing home the crown in the Fab Five’s last hoorah.
Valdez says, given the circumstances of both teams, this coming series will be a fresh experience for the Lady Eagles who bring in a totally different lineup from the one from two years before.
“NU puro veterans sila while kami it’s gonna be a new experience for everyone since sila Gizelle [Tan], Bea [De Leon], Jho [Maraguinot], and everyone else first time naming mag-finals as a group sa SVL. So we’re gonna do our best and try to learn from the experience,” Valdez remarked citing also that two years ago, Roger Gorayeb coached the Lady Eagles in the series and now he coaches the NU side.
UST, on the other hand, will face the FEU Lady Tamaraws in best-of-three series for third place with Game One starting Saturday, September 19. FEU defeated UST earlier this season.
Game One of the Finals will be on Sunday, September 20 following the Finals of the Spikers’ Turf Finals series between NU and Ateneo.
Ateneo (3) – Valdez 19, Ahomiro 9, De Leon 9, Maraguinot 6, Gequillana 4, Tan 1, Gaston 0, De Jesus (L)
UST (0) – Laure 9, Lastimosa 6, Tunay 5, De Leon 5, Meneses 4, Francisco 2, Verutiao 2, Cabanos 1, Cortez 0, Sandoval 0, Teope 0, Rasmo (L)