(Photos by Alex Alferez/Sports Gateway PH)
Ateneo made an early statement on its women’s title bid, while defending champion University of Santo Tomas and last year’s runner-up De La Salle stumbled in the opening day of the UAAP Season 78 beach volleyball tournament yesterday at the Sands SM By The Bay.
Buoyed by the pro-Lady Eagles crowd, Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan survived a tough second set to beat University of the Philippines’ Arielle Estranero and Vina Alinas, 21-9, 21-19, in the only morning session match that went to straight sets.
The Tigresses and the Lady Spikers, however, fell by wayside.
UST’s Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera bowed to Adamson University’s Mylene Paat and Jessica Galanza, 16-21, 21-17, 13-15, while La Salle’s Cyd Demecillo and Kim Fajardo suffered a narrow 15-21, 21-17, 15-17 loss to Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza.
With Tan and Valdez delivering the key hits, Ateneo broke from a 19-19 deadlock in the second frame to seal its first win.
Valdez is simply focusing at the task at hand to nail the only crown that she is missing in her vast collegiate trophy collection – beach volleyball.
“I’m not aiming for anything. I have to play for my team,” said Valdez, who along with Tan are playing their final season on the sand court for the Lady Eagles.
“It’s good to be back playing beach volleyball. Marami pa kaming errors but I’m glad we were able to get this good win,” she added.
National University’s Roma Doromal and Jasmine Nabor, meanwhile, also needed three sets to defeat University of the East’s Angelica Dacaymat and Judith Abil, 20-22, 21-19, 15-5.
Rondina and Rivera came back in the afternoon session to beat Doromal and Nabor in straight sets, 21-14, 21-14, as the Tigresses and the Lady Bulldogs ended the day tied at 1-1.
In the men’s division, titleholder NU outlasted Adamson, 21-14, 19-21, 15-10, UST nipped FEU, 21-19, 13-21, 19-17, Ateneo tripped UP, 21-16, 21-18, and La Salle edged UE, 21-10, 19-21, 15-13