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Ateneo keeps perfect start going, upends UST

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Despite having major problems with their first touches, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles took their 20th straight match in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament, quelling a young University of Santo Tomas Tigresses in four sets, 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15 at the FilOil Flying V Centre earlier today.

The quality of Ateneo’s first balls fluctuated throughout the match. But the Lady Eagles still managed to dole out heavy attacks in the first and second set while keeping UST at bay with their loaded serves.

UST head coach, Kungfu Reyes tweaked his lineup in the third frame starting Chloe Cortez at middle blocker in place of Ria Meneses. The adjustment, along with Ateneo’s continued ineptitude on reception, allowed UST to build an early lead behind Cherry Rondina’s attacking. Leading 16-11, UST fought off a late Ateneo advance to extend the match.

Ateneo, however, retaliated convincingly in the fourth set. Shoring up their reception and with the Tigresses errors, Ateneo cruised to their second straight win.

“Nakita talaga ‘yung epekto ng pagakawala ng two main receivers namin in Denden (Lazaro) and Ella (De Jesus). It’s good na nachachallenge kami this early in the season. Nakikita agad ‘yung weaknesses namin that we need to improve,” Ateneo team captain and reigning league MVP, Alyssa Valdez said.

Valdez towed the Lady Eagles with 23 points while her fellow open hitter, Jhoana Maraguinot had 12 markers.

Sophomore beach volleyball champion, Cherry Rondina fired in 21 points for UST while team captain Ej Laure had 11.

Ateneo’s win marks their 20th straight dating back to the Season 76 Finals.

Ateneo (2-0) next faces the Adamson Lady Falcons (1-1) on Wednesday, 4 p.m. at the MoA Arena. UST (0-2) has the FEU Lady Tams on Saturday 2 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

ADMU (3) – Valdez 23, Maraguinot 12, Ahomiro 8, Madayag 7, De Leon 6, Morado 5, Gequillana 1, Tan (L)

UST (0) – Rondina 21, Laure 11, Rivera 9, Cortez 5, De Leon 5, Tunay 3, Bicar 1, Cabanos 1, Reyes (L), Dizon (L)

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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