UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas sent Ateneo de Manila University on the brink of elimination, 25-22, 25-20, 27-29, 25-21, to keep in pace for the second spot in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the Philsports Arena in Pasig, Saturday.
The Golden Tigresses joined Adamson University at 8-3 for joint second while the Blue Eagles slid to 4-7 at sixth.
Ateneo’s fate is already not on its hands because a win by National University against Far Eastern University tomorrow will already mean the end of the road for the Blue Eagles.
“Ang hirap talaga talunin nitong team na ito (Ateneo) kasi nga anytime talagang babalik eh kasi nga meron silang Faith Nisperos, nandoon pa yung De Guzman, yung Gandler pa. Sa part naman namin, pinipilit namin kung saan yung butas, kung saaan yung malakas na atake,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes after the two-hour 25-minute match.
In the extended third set, it was Faith Nisperos who Ateneo went to almost exclusively as she hammered two kills in their last three points to extend the match, 29-27.
The Blue Eagles threatened to force a decider when they led by two late in the fourth, 20-18, but Eya Laure, Imee Hernandez, Milena Alessandrini, and Janna Torres connived to score seven of the game’s last eight points, 25-21.
Laure and Nisperos had a showdown with the former netting 27 points in 23 attacks and four blocks to go with 16 digs while the latter made 31 points on 29 spikes.
Nisperos matched her UAAP career best in scoring.
But it was Hernandez who stole the show, tallying a personal-best 24 points spread through 19 attacks, three blocks, and two aces.
Regina Jurado and Milena Alessandrini also contributed 10 points apiece for the Golden Tigresses.
Vanie Gandler and Lyann De Guzman supplied 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Blue Eagles.
Ateneo will next face Far Eastern University on Wednesday while UST will return on April 23 against the Lady Tamaraws as well.