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Women’s Beach Volley Day Three: DLSU, UST back on track, ADMU still on top

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Day Three of the UAAP Women’s Beach Volleyball saw redemption for the league’s defending finalists, UST and DLSU. Ateneo suffered their first setback but retained their lead over the rest. The weekend ended with five teams jockeying for a Final Four spot, adding more weight to next Friday’s ties.

The defending champs, UST’s Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera, imposed their dominance, drubbing UP’s Vina Alinas and Arielle Estranero, 21-11, 21-15 in the morning then whipping UE’s replacement player Glaiza Bendong and Judith Abil 21-3, 21-4. Faced with determined opponents in the first two days, the Tigresses had an easier time picking apart the league’s bottom teams. Both Rondina and Rivera served impeccably and defended energetically, a stark difference from their previous outings. They desperately needed to win both matches to keep their hopes of making the Final Four given their next opponents; they face Ateneo on Friday then La Salle on Saturday, with both coming off good weekends game-wise.

Last season’s finalists, DLSU’s Kim Fajrado and Cyd Demecillo also regained their touch, breezing past UE’s Abil and Angelica Dacaymat, 21-10, 21-9 in their morning tie then handing Ateneo’s Bea Tan and Alyssa Valdez their first loss of the season, 12-21, 21-16, 15-12 in the afternoon. Overcoming both fatigue from playing an earlier match and a first set loss, the Lady Spikers kept their composure and limited their mistakes. La Salle shut down Ateneo’s strategy and forced the Lady Eagles into a third set. The deciding frame came down to limiting errors and, while they surrendered early service errors, DLSU rallied back, erasing Ateneo’s 11-9 lead and jumping ahead off Fajardo and Demecillo attacks, 12-11. From there, Fajardo notched the attacks and set the stage for Demecillo to deliver the winning point off an ace.

It was not all gloom for the Ladies of Loyola as Tan and Valdez notched a win earlier in the day against then-undefeated Lady Falcons, Gemma Galanza and Mylene Paat, 21-13, 21-15. Ateneo’s strategy of targeting Galanza and forcing her to beat them worked perfectly. While Galanza still got a few past Ateneo’s defense, her attacks weren’t enough to punish the Lady Eagles consistently. Tan, as Adamson’s target, found holes in the Lady Falcons’ defense in the first set, forcing them to switch up their approach. Targeting Valdez in the second set, the Lady Falcons still could not stop Ateneo as the indoor volleyball MVP found numerous ways to score.

For the noon match, FEU’s Bernadette Pons and Kyla Atienza picked apart NU’s Jaja Santiago and Jasmine Nabor in straight sets, 21-12, 21-12. Undaunted by Santiago’s 6’6″ frame, FEU’s beach volleyball veterans stayed aggressive and forced NU to run around the sand in the blistering heat. Atienza continued her dominance on the service line, firing powerful jump serves that neither of the NU pair could receive. Pons attacked excellently, picking off NU’s over-received balls for easy points off power tips. While Santiago had a few highlight-reel worthy attacks, NU did not have the speed and savvy to keep up with the Lady Tams.

Here are the standings after Day Three:

ADMU (Tan/Valdez) 4-1
AdU (Paat/Galanza) 3-1
FEU (Pons/Atienza) 3-1
DLSU (Demecillo/Fajardo) 3-2
UST (Rondina/Rivera) 3-2
NU (Santiago/Nabor) 1-3
UP (Alinas/Estranero) 1-3
UE (Bendong/Abil) 0-5

For a schedule of the remaining games, click here.

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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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