If the way the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles persevered past the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses on the first day of the UAAP Season 79 is an indication of what is to come, then the Lady Eagles are still a team to be reckoned with post-Alyssa Valdez.
Ateneo matched UST’s intensity throughout the encounter, pulling off an impressive 25-20, 25-21, 25-22 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Eagles debuted their towering lineup with rookie Kat Tolentino and Mich Morente finally available. Ateneo built an early five-point lead and kept the UST at bay in the first set. The Lady Eagles then frustrated the Tigresses in the final two frames, quelling all UST efforts to get back in the match.
Third year open hitter Jhoana Maraguinot shone for the Lady Eagles, scoring 15 points. Morente added nine points while Tolentino pitched in eight.
“We lost a go-to player and I think this the way we can deal with it the best. For sure, were going to try to get everyone to score,” Ateneo team captain and setter Jia Morado said.
“We’re very happy with the win. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. People were expecting us to have opening day jitters. But I think, lalo na in the end game, lumabas naman ‘yung pinaghandaan namin. We’re hoping na we can continue this for the following games,” the Ateneo skipper continued.
The Lady Eagles continue their campaign on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre when they face the National U Lady Bulldogs (1-0).
UST shuffled through much of their lineup but it was still open hitters Cherry Rondina and Ej Laure who towed the offense, tacking on 10 and 17 points, respectively.
The Tigresses (0-1) try to recover against defending champs La Salle Lady Spikers (0-0) on February 11.
ADMU (3) – Maraguinot 15, Morente 9, Tolentino 8, De Leon 7, Madayag 5, Morado 5, Gequillana 1, Tan (L)
UST (0) – Laure 17, Rondina 10, Cortez 4, Lastimosa 3, Meneses 3, Bicar 2, Sandoval 2, Viray 2, Palec 1, Francisco 0, Pacres 0, Rasmo (L), Rivera (L)