After a disappointing start to their season, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles eked out a gutsy victory over the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23, to enter the Season 80 win column at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Serve receives, and the lack of these, decided the match.
UST, despite losing starting libero Rica Rivera due to an early injury, pulled out a decisive first set decision after bombarding the Lady Eagles with strong serves.
The Tigresses continued to pressure the Lady Eagles, but Ateneo made the most of their transition opportunuties to stay alive. Ateneo erased a 16-14 UST lead in the second set to squeak out their first set win. The Lady Eagles then absorbed a 10-0 UST run in the third set that buried them in a 19-12 deficit. Ateneo eventually countered with a run that tied the set at 20. Jules Samonte then buoyed the Lady Eagles in the final stretch, scoring two of Ateneo’s last five points.
Ateneo again powered through their faulty reception and used their blocking to clinch the fourth set. Erasing a 16-13 UST lead, the Lady Eagles closed the match on 12-9 blur, anchored on solid play at the net and UST’s errors.
“We just went back to coach Tai’s Happy-Happy mantra. We just focused and, most importantly, we went out there and trusted each other,” said senior Ateneo middle blocker Bea De Leon.
The Lady Eagles again surrendered double-digit aces with 15, but closed the gap thanks to UST’s 34 errors.
De Leon, Jhoana Maraguinot, and Kat Tolentino each provided 11 points for the Lady Eagles, while Samonte finished with 10 markers.
Cherry Rondina was again UST’s best gunner with 22 points. Fil-Italian Milena Alessandrini added 11 markers.
The Lady Eagles (1-2) take on the University of the East Lady Warriors (0-3) on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. UST (1-2) face the Adamson University Lady Falcons (1-1) on Sunday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
ADMU (3) – De Leon 11, Maraguinot 11, Tolentino 11, Samonte 10, Madayag 9, Wong 4, Gaston 1, Eleazar 0, Ravena (L)
UST (1) – Rondina 22, Alessandrini 11, Francisco 10, Palec 7, Viray 7, Pacres 6, Bangad 0, Dizon 0, Sandoval 0, Pollentes (L)