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Women’s Beach Volleyball Day Two: Lady Falcons, Lady Eagles emerge as favorites

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Day One’s frantic momentum rolled all the way into Day Two of the UAAP Women’s Beach Volleyball Tournament. The Lady Falcons and the Lady Eagles pulled-off dazzling wins, last season’s finalists DLSU and UST continued to skid, while FEU looked great in both their loss and win.

The Adamson Lady Falcons’ Mylene Paat and Gemma Galanza kicked-off Day Two with a quick win over the UP Lady Maroons’ Arielle Estranero and Vina Alinas, 21-8, 21-7. Paat and Galanza had the upper hand at every skill, taking advantage of UP’s younger players. With the fact that their next match was going to come in just a few minutes, the Lady Falcons consciously pounded on the Lady Maroons to get enough time to recover.

Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan followed, earning a tight 24-22, 21-17 victory over FEU’s feisty pair of Bernadette Pons and Kyla Atienza. FEU, behind stellar back row defense from Atienza and solid play at the net from Pons, led Ateneo by as much as five, 9-4, in the first set. Tan and Valdez, however, regrouped through a timeout midway through the set and slowly nibbled away at FEU’s advantage. After an attack from Valdez brought Ateneo to set point at 20-18, FEU stormed back after a timeout, grabbing three points and a crack at set point. FEU then surrendered crucial errors down the stretch which allowed Ateneo to escape with the opening set win. The following played out much the same way with the Lady Tams rallying to an early lead at 9-6. But, the Lady Eagles finally consistently controlled Atienza’s deadly serve, to hijack FEU’s lead, 14-13. From there, attacks from Valdez and Tan finished off the Lady Tams, leaving Ateneo with a perfect record. Both teams played magnificently, but the Atneans had an extra zip that pulled them to keep many points alive.

Adamson had to battle a quick turnaround, but exuberant play from Gemma Galanza powered them to a quick 21-14, 21-18 over last season’s finalists DLSU’s Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo. Galanza roamed the court, keeping multiple balls alive. Paat, meanwhile, ferociously went for every block. It was Galanza’s serving, however, that gave the Lady Spikers the most trouble with the Lady Falcon notching eight aces in the match. La Salle’s flat-footed play kept them behind early in every set. Having to play catch up for most of the match, Demecillo and Fajardo ran out of steam late in each set.

In the first match of the afternoon, the Lady Tams avenged their earlier loss, taking down the dazed defending titlists, UST’s Cherry Rondina and Rica Jane Rivera, 21-14, 21-16. Again, Kyla Atienza’s powerful jump serve left no prisoners, hitting her targets perfectly and either generating an ace or a free ball which Bernatdette Pons converted easily. FEU consistently targeted Rica Rivera who was suffering from abdominal pains yesterday.  With Rivera struggling, the fiery Rondina was taken out of her usual rhythm, allowing FEU to totally dominate the match up.

Before NU’s match against Ateneo, officials announced that NU’s reserve player, Jaja Santiago was going to replace Roma Doromal in the lineup. According to NU Coach Noy Are, he had planned on slotting Jaja Santiago in for Doromal even before the tournament started adding that he wanted to give Doromal more exposure.

NU’s last minute change, however, still could not hinder Ateneo’s Bea Tan and Alyssa Valdez from cruising to win. The Ateneans handed Santiago and Jasmine Nabor a 21-18, 21-14 sweep. Jaja had her moments, firing off several powerful hits that left craters in the sand. But Ateneo’s speed and craftiness overwhelmed the Lady Bulldogs. Tan, whom NU targeted, found ways through and around Jaja Santiago’s block, providing the Lady Eagles with easy side outs while Valdez was her usual offensive threat, scoring on both soft and strong hits.

The Final match had UP’s Vina Alinas and Arielle Estranero claim their first win in the longest game of the tournament, downing UE’s Angelica Dacaymat and Judith Abil in a three-set slobber-knocker, 21-16, 20-22, 24-22. UE used their supreme leaping ability to take an early lead in the first set but they failed to maintain their offensive pressure as they coughed up errors. UP took the opening set but was in a hole throughout the following frame. UE leaped out to set point, 20-16, with UP mounting another comeback. After scoring four straight points, an untimely attack error from Alinas cut UP’s momentum and made way for the Lady Warriors to sneak back and force third set. The deciding set saw the fatigue in both sides. Both playing tired, UP and UE traded botched attacks and momentary, adrenaline-fueled bursts. UP had match multiple in the deciding deuce but couldn’t put the Lady Warriors away. After UE’s error knotted the set at 22, Vina Alinas saved the day, serving back-to-back aces to seal their first win.

Here are the standings after Day Two:

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

For the schedule of 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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