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Tiebreaker Times

Unstoppable: Valdez torches undermanned DLSU, leads Ateneo to Game one victory

With a back-to-back title already marked in their crosshairs, the Ateneo Lady Eagles made short work of their rivals, the DLSU Lady Spikers, 25-18, 25-19, 25-19 to move one win away from capturing their second straight volleyball plume earlier at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ateneo phenom, Alyssa Valdez was in full MVP form, notching a game-high 25 points off 22 spikes, 2 blocks, and an ace. Valdez was the only Lady Eagle who scored in double-digits as her offensive brilliance could not be matched by La Salle’s depleted lineup. Veteran open spiker, Cyd Demecillo, led all La Sallians in scoring with an exhausting 10-point effort.

The match got off to a torrid pace as both teams shared hold of the momentum early. A splendid stint from the service area from, Ateneo open spiker, Ella De Jesus opened a 13-8 gap for the defending champs. The Lady Eagles continued their offensive torrent as reigning MVP Valdez poured on six points in a stretch that had Ateneo’s lead grow to 22-15. Ateneo closed the set with an Amy Ahomiro ace followed by a Joy Baron service error.

The Lady Spikers opened the second set with a more potent offensive push, notching a two-point lead, 6-4. Moving forward, Ateneo rode their team captain, Valdez’s offensive arsenal, taking a 10-7 lead. Then, with the rest of the spikers pitching in, the Lady Eagles ballooned their lead to five, 16-11. La Salle staged a last ditch effort to steal the set as Ateneo errors pulled them to within two points of the lead, 18-20. Ateneo’s brilliance, however, in late set situations shone through as the Lady Eagles gave away only a single point from there, and grabbed a 2-0 set lead.

The Lady Eagles were in great form to take the set comfortably as the ladies from Katipunan took an 8-5 lead early. La Salle rookie, Eli Soyud rifled off three consecutive points to the set at 10. From that moment, both teams went back and forth drilling home spikes, with Ateneo eventually breaking away, 19-15. Valdez once again finished off the La Sallians, capping the match with a late four-point outburst.

After the game, Alyssa Valdez downplayed her spectacular performance in a press conference. “It was a team effort naman. I think Jia (Morado) did a great job distributing the ball. Nababantayan din talaga ‘yung middle at utility spikers namin kaya mas madali for me, minsan isang blocker na lang bumabantay sa akin,” said the 5’9 open spiker.

“We’re really close in the volleyball community so to see her injured is really sad not only for me, but for everyone in volleyball,” remarked Valdez when asked about injured La Salle captain, Ara Galang, who suffered a horrendous season-ending knee injury in their match against NU.

The win, marks Ateneo’s 15th straight, a UAAP record for most consecutive wins in a season. Ateneo now needs one more win to give the school an unprecedented, back-to-back volleyball title. The next match will be on Saturday, 3 p.m. at the MoA Arena.

The scores:

ADMU – Valdez 25, Morente 8, Ahomiro 7, De Leon 6, De Jesus 4, Morado 3, Gequillana 0, Lazaro (L), Lavitorio (L)

DLSU- Demecillo 10, Soyud 8, Baron 7, Reyes 4, Fajardo 3, Tiu 1, Cerveza 1, Cheng 1, Cruz Ca. 0, Macandili (L), Cruz Ci. (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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