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UST trounces Ateneo to extend semis series, hands Lady Eagles first loss

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Playing as if there was no tomorrow, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses shocked the UAAP champion Ateneo Lady Eagles to extend their semifinals series with a hard earned 18-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 victory in the Shakeys V-League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Both teams played a tight first set, with the Lady Eagles managing to create a 16-12 separation against the Golden Tigresses. The Lady Eagles, behind the effort of Alyssa Valdez, Kim Gequillana and Jhoanna Maraguinot led the charge to dispatch the gritty Golden Tigressses.

Despite having a slow start in the second set with the Lady Eagles in the driver seat at 6-2, the Golden Tigresses relied on the triumvirate of Pam Lastimosa, Ria Meneses and EJ Laure to give the España-based squad a 8-7 lead in the first technical timeout. Both teams exchanged attacks until the Lady Eagles committed attack errors coming from Valdez and Maraguinot to give UST a 13-10 lead. Afterwards, Carmela Tunay and Meneses took over in burying the Lady Eagles in the set.

The Tigresses and Lady Eagles played a roller coaster of a third set. With the Golden Tigresses leading 22-16, the Lady Eagles relied on its blocking and errors coming from the Golden Tigresses to catch up, as Bea De Leon scored two consecutive points to take the lead at 23-22. Tunay answered in scoring through the block to tie it at 23. Jessey De Leon then was able to block Valdez and Sarah Verutiao unloaded an ace to take the set from the Lady Eagles.

In the fourth set, the Golden Tigresses showed brilliant floor defense that made it difficult for the Lady Eagles to convert points easily. With a 16-10 deficit in the second technical timeout, the reigning UAAP champion managed to slowly crawl back, with Bea De Leon and Amy Ahomiro leading the charge to cut the lead to just three, 18-15. EJ Laure erupted, scoring the Golden Tigresses five out of six points to put them at matchpoint, 24-18. Ateneo still had some gas left in the tank, with Valdez scoring four straight points to keep them at a 24-22 disadvantage. Tunay didn’t allow Ateneo to gain any more momentum, as she unleashed a quick attack to end the winning streak of the Lady Eagles.

After the game UST Head Coach Kungfu Reyes said the team was really motivated after its straight loss against the Lady Eagles in the semifinals opener yesterday, with the team spending an hour in the dug out to talk things over what went wrong in the game.

“Habang kumakain sa dug out kahapon, nag-usap kami at sinabi ko sa kanila wala mawawala sa atin. Sabi ko bigyan ninyo ang sarili ninyo ng redemption. Ayun nakuha naman ang reward from it,” Reyes said.

Despite the victory against the Lady Eagles Reyes said there is still more things to improve for the Golden Tigresses.

“Sa endgame kami nayayari, buti na lang nakabalik kami, sabi ko sa kanila sa timeout focus muna sila para makabalik at maging consistent sa receive, tapos susunod na ang attacks at blocking,” Reyes added.

Laure led the Golden Tigresses with 17 points while Tunay and Meneses adding 15 and 12 points to extend the semifinals series against the Lady Eagles.

Valdez finished with 24 points to lead the Lady Eagles while Bea De Leon and Kim Gequillana provided 13 and 10 markers respectively.

The Golden Tigresses and the Lady Eagles will tangle in the winner take all game three on September 16 at 4:00 PM in the same venue to figure out who will face the National University Lady Bulldogs at the finals of the Collegiate Conference.

The Scores:

UST (3) – Laure 17, Tunay 15, Meneses 12, Lastimosa 10, De Leon 7, Verutiao 4, Cortez 0, Francisco 0, Cabanos 0, Rasmo (L)

ADMU (1) – Valdez 24, De Leon 13, Gequillana 10, Maraguinot 8, Ahomiro 3, Tiangco-Williams 2, Tan 1, Gaston 0, De Jesus (L)

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