As they led Far Eastern University, two sets to none, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles still found themselves having to earn the win the hard way, outgunning the Lady Tams in five sets, 25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 15-8, in a nerve-wracking collision in the second round of the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan, Saturday.
ADMU clinched their eight consecutive victory in 10 outings, booking them a seat in the Final Four.
Jhoana Maraguinot spearheaded the attack for the Lady Eagles with 23 points, three coming from the service line. Michelle Morente and Bea De Leon posted 15 and 12 markers, respectively. Team captain Jia Morado dished out 39 excellent sets.
Ateneo asserted their dominance early, as Maraguinot daggered a down-the-line hit to give her team a 10-5 lead in the first set. FEU tried to rally back with Atienza firing an ace to trim the deficit to four, 18-22. However, the Blue and White eventually sealed the set off attacks from Maraguinot and Tolentino.
It was pretty much the same in the second period, with the Lady Tams playing catch-up with the Lady Eagles. Ateneo opened the set strong once again as they led FEU, 8-2. The Katipunan-based crew countered every run from the Green and Gold side to push their lead to seven. The Green and Gold was not out of it yet as they tied the set at 21-all. Still, Ateneo was unfazed, dispatching the Lady Tams capped off by an ace from Jia Morado.
FEU turned the tables around come the third set. Coach Shaq Delos Santos’ squad quickly built-up a five-point lead on Ateneo, 10-5. ADMU put a scare on the Lady Tams as the former came to as close as one, 10-9. Toni Rose Basas connected with an ace to bring the lead back to three, 15-2. The Lady Tams was having none of the Lady Eagles’ rally to run away with the third.
The fourth set went tit-for-tat as none of the teams let go of the other. Morado went for a one-two attack of her own to put Ateneo ahead, 13-11. Basa again answered the call for the Lady Tams to take on the driver’s seat, 19-18, en route to a fourth canto win to force a deciding set.
The deciding set was close early, but Tolentino and Maraguinot took over as Ateneo owned an, 8-4, advantage. FEU, then, inched closer to within one to put the momentum on their side, 9-10. Unfortunately, a string of errors cost them the match and saw themselves losing to ADMU again.
Pons top scored for the Lady Tams with 19 points. Basa had 14, while Palma added 12. FEU slid down to an even 5-5 record.