After yielding a five setter to the Lady Maroons in the first round, the Ateneo Lady Eagles made short work of UP, 25-18, 25-18, 25-18 at the San Juan Arena.
Surrendering more than 30 errors in their first meeting, the Lady Eagles managed to limit their errors to 17, their lowest tally of the season while still burning UP with powerful spikes, amassing 42 to UP’s 29. UP also had incredible difficulty receiving Ateneo’s serves as they only managed to tally four excellent receptions.
The Lady Eagles clobbered the Lady Maroons in the opening set. Taking advantage of UP’s severe lack of length at the net, the defending champs’ heavy hitters had a field day dishing out powerful spikes. Occasional errors from Ateneo kept the set within the grasp of the Lady Maroons, but the Lady Maroons showed early on that they just did not have enough to stuff Ateneo’s attacks.
The Lady Eagles started the second frame the Ateneo way – loads of attack errors before turning on the jets and overwhelming their opponents. The first few points of the set were particularly sloppy for both sides with multiple botched sets and receptions. The Lady Eagles pulled away after being down 6-8; Alyssa Valdez proceeded to stretch her wings and blasted through UP’s fledgling defense. The Lady Eagles built an eight-point wall and never looked back.
Ateneo’s momentum carried through to the third set, further overwhelming UP early with their league-best offense but later giving way for a UP comeback. The Lady Eagles erected a 16-10 lead before UP’s spiking grew legs and crept up on Ateneo to trim their lead to 16-14. An Ateneo timeout halted momentum for the Lady Maroons as the Lady Eagles gave up only four points en route to another sweep.
Valdez led all Ateneans in scoring with 20 points on 16 for 28 spiking with three aces. Rookie wunderkind Bea De Leon pitched in 10 markers while fellow middle blocker Amy Ahomiro had nine points.
UP’s replacement for the injured Kathy Bersola, Marian Buitre headlined her team’s attack with 13 points while team captain Nicole Tiamzon joined her as the only two Lady Maroons who scored double digits with 12.
Ateneo – Valdez 20, De Leon 10, Ahomiro 9, Morado 8, Maraguinot 4, Morente 2, De Jesus 1, Lazaro (L) 0
UP – Buitre 13, Tiamzon 12, Araneta 5, Alinas 4, Ilustre 3, Lai 0, Mangulabnan 0, Magtalas 0, Estranero (L) 0