MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University exacted revenge on Technical Institute of the Philippines (TIP) in four sets to claim the last quarterfinals berth in the V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference.
With former three-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez watching from the bench, the Lady Eagles battled back from a poor start to claim a 16-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16 victory in an hour and 34 minutes at the Philsports Arena on Monday.
New team captain Michelle Morente continued her fine play, scoring 21 points on 18 attacks and two aces to lead the Lady Eagles, while Bea De Leon had 15 points including four blocks and two aces, and Ana Gopico added 13 markers.
The four-set win allowed the Lady Eagles to earn a measure of revenge on the Lady Engineers, who had stunned them during their first game of the Collegiate Conference – the first game they played sans Valdez.
“Sobrang nag-gain ng confidence ang team,” Morente said after the game. “Nakita namin na kaya pa naming lumaban. Habang hindi pa tapos ‘yung set, hindi pa tapos ‘yung game, hindi pa tapos ‘yung match, kaya pang lumaban.”
It was TIP that started on a strong note, taking advantage of Ateneo’s sorry service reception to take a 25-16 victory in the opening frame. The Lady Eagles rebounded in the second set as De Leon imposed her will at the net, while Gopico and Morente asserted themselves offensively.
The Lady Eagles raced to a 6-1 advantage in the third frame, but a 7-1 run anchored on Alyssa Layug’s kills allowed TIP to come to within one point, 12-13. The Lady Eagles had an answer every time they came close, however. After Saet’s drop shot made it 19-22, Gopico answered with a kill and Morado scored on a 1-2 play to put Ateneo at set point, 24-22.
A mishit by Pauline Gaston temporarily stopped Ateneo’s march, but she made up for her miscue with the kill that wrapped up the third set for her team.
It was all Ateneo in the fourth set, as they pulled away midway through the frame and remained aggressive all the way through, while TIP succumbed to their own miscues.
The Lady Eagles registered 53 attack points, eight blocks, and eight aces with Jia Morado coming through with 62 excellent sets to out-duel Saet, who had 33. The Lady Engineers had 11 aces, but their 42 attack points were not enough to match Ateneo’s firepower.
After dropping their first two games of the tournament, Ateneo has now won three straight matches and will carry a 1-1 record into the quarterfinals.
Far Eastern University has a 2-0 record, while San Sebastian College and University of the Philippines hold 1-1 slates as well. National University now has a 2-1 record in the quarterfinals after sweeping University of Santo Tomas earlier.
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