Facing legends and alumni, the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles did not back down, claiming their biggest win of the PVL Open Conference at the expense of Alyssa Valdez and the Creamline Cool Smashers, 25-18, 25-20, 15-25, 23-25, 15-12, at the Batangas City Arena.
The Lady Eagles saw a hot start dissipate as former Ateneo champions Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado sparked Creamline’s third set domination and fourth set comeback.
Locked in a tight fifth set, Maddie Madayag gave Ateneo momentary breathing room, sliding in for back-to-back points and an 8-6 Lady Eagles lead. Former three-time UAAP MVP Valdez then kept Creamline alive, scoring four times in a run that gave her team a 12-10 cushion. From there, Ateneo’s defense took over, as Ponggay Gaston and Bea De Leon scored down the stretch, setting up rookie Vanie Gandler’s game-wining block on Valdez.
“I really commend my players for stepping up under pressure. Creamline is such a veteran team with great players,” Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to learn kasi nga, as I’ve been saying, every game is a learning game for us. Slowly, we’re getting to where we want to be.”
Kat Tolentino topped Ateneo with 22 points, while De Leon added 15.
Valdez dropped a season-high 32 points but Creamline gave up 37 errors, far from their usual six error per set average.
Ateneo momentarily sit atop the standings with a 7-2 card, while Creamline drop to second at 6-2.
The Lady Eagles take on Tacloban (4-5) on Saturday. Creamline will also face the Fighting Warays on November 7. Both matches are at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Ateneo-Motolite (3) – Tolentino 22, De Leon 15, Madayag 9, Gandler 6, Wong 5, Samonte 3, Fanger 0, Maraguinot 0, Ravena (L)
Creamline (2) – Valdez 32, Galanza 13, Soriano 11, Gumabao 9, Cayetano 3, Mandapat 3, Gutierrez 2, Bravo 1, Morado 0, Atienza (L), Gohing (L)
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