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Valdez’s 32 carries Ateneo past CSB

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Reigning UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez once again carried the scoring load for the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles, as they staged a comeback win against the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers 23-25,18-25,25-8, 25-20,15-10 in the Shakeys V-League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena earlier today.

Both teams exchanged attacks and showed their superior floor defense throughout the tight first set, a Valdez attack error allowed the Lady Blazers to take the lead at 23-22, followed by a Monica Torres kill that gave the Taft based squad the set point at 24-22. Valdez was able to score through the block to keep the Lady Eagles afloat at 23-24 but Jeanette Panaga blocked Jhoanna Maraguinot to award the nerve cracking first set to Benilde.

Shortly into the second set, the Lady Eagles struggled with their reception that was capitalized by the Lady Blazers to erect an 8-4 lead in the first technical timeout. The Lady Blazers banked on the Lady Eagles’ difficulties to further increase the lead at 22-11 with Panaga and Jannine Navarro leading the Benilde offense. The Lady Eagles managed to trim the lead to six from the collective effort of Valdez, Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag putting Ateneo at a 22-17 disadvantage. However, Madayag committed a service error followed by Maraguinot getting blocked by Torres to bring Benilde to another set point at 24-17. Similar to the first set, Valdez once again scored, attempting to give Ateneo life, but on the next play Panaga once again put away the set for the Lady Blazers with a block on Valdez to put Benilde in a two to nothing set advantage against the reigning UAAP champions.

The Lady Eagles finally showed its fury in offense in blistering the Lady Blazers. Errors coming from the Lady Blazers further helped Ateneo to maintain a huge lead throughout the set.Valdez scored off the block to gave the Lady Eagles a comfortable 17-7 lead. Afterwards De Leon put some finishing touches including an ace to extend the match for the Katipunan based squad.

In the fourth set, with both teams tied at nine, Valdez scored three straight points to give Ateneo a 12-9 separation. However, Navarro counter attacked to give Benilde a slight 14-13 lead against the Lady Eagles. Ateneo bounced back, with Maraguinot scoring for a 15-14 advantage, and from there Ateneo never gave the Lady Blazers a chance to recover, with Valdez ending the set with a kill to level the match sets at two all.

Benilde started the fifth set with a 2-0 lead but back-to-back errors from the Lady Blazers helped the Lady Eagles enter the score board at two all. Both teams once again exchanged points until Valdez once again scored three consecutive points for Ateneo, this time followed by an Amy Ahomiro block on Torres for an 8-5 lead. The Lady Blazers refused to surrender with Panaga and Navarro leading the charge to keep Benilde at distance, 12-10. Still the Lady Eagles managed to hang on, coupled by errors from Navarro that gave the Lady Eagles its hard earned fourth straight win.

Ateneo Team Captian Alyssa Valdez said the team is now really affected by the injuries but never lose a chance against the Lady Blazers.

“We really affected sa mga injuries sa team. As a team kailangan gawin ang part namin and si Coach Tai(Bundit) naman remained positive,” said Valdez.

Valdez also praised the Lady Blazers on their effort in this game.

“Hands on talaga, defense and offense, all of them really played well and work hard,” Valdez added.

Valdez top scored the Lady Eagles with 32 points from 26 attacks points and five services aces, while setter, Gizelle Tan tossed 35 excellent sets.

Panaga finished with 17 points and Navarro added 14 points for the Lady Blazers. The Lady Eagles will next play against the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) Lady Engineers on August 8 at 5:00 PM while the Lady Blazers next assignment is against the De La Salle-Dasmarinas Lady Patriots on August 9 at 5:00 PM at the same venue.

The Scores:

ADMU (3) – Valdez 32, De Leon 11, Maraguinot 9, Gequillana 7, Ahomiro 5, Madayag 3, Tan 2, De Jesus (L)

CSB (2) – Panaga 17, Navarro 14, Torres 9, Dolorito 6, Musa 2, Cheng 2,Borrero 1, Ramos 1, Austero 0, Santillan 0, Enclona (L)

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