THE TOP-SEEDED Ateneo Lady Eagles made their way back to the finals of UAAP women’s volleyball yesterday following their four-sets win over the fourth-ranked Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, in the process setting up a finals rematch with the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers.
Returned to action after a two-week break in University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) action, the Lady Eagles hung tough amid a late spirited fight from the Lady Tamaraws in their Final Four joust to go away with the 25-22, 25-10, 16-25 and 26-24 victory.
The Katipunan-based Lady Eagles encountered a resistance from the Lady Tamaraws early before soaring and keeping their foes at bay to claim the opening set.
Ateneo started the first set with a 3-0 run only to be caught up by FEU at 4-4.
The Lady Eagles racked up five straights points thereafter to create some separation.
FEU managed to make things close in the opening frame, 20-18, but two points were the closest it would come with Ateneo going for the closeout.
In the second set, the Lady Eagles raced to a 13-4 lead midway which proved to be too much to recover from for the Lady Tamaraws, which were pushed down two sets to nil.
The Lady Tamaraws showed more fight in the third set, standing toe-to-toe with the Lady Eagles at the start and first to reach the second technical knockout, 16-14.
They then went on a 9-2 run after to extend the game to a fourth set.
Jolted by their third-set “meltdown,” the Lady Eagles made sure to begin on the right foot in the fourth frame, beating the Lady Tamaraws to the first technical knockout, 8-3.
FEU narrowed the gap to 11-10 after which Ateneo soared, 5-2, to claim a 16-12 lead by the second technical knockout.
But the Lady Tamaraws charged back, going on a 9-4 run to take a 21-20 lead. Ateneo would answer back with three straight points to reclaim the lead, 23-21.
FEU gave one more push, going up, 24-23, for match point but Ateneo would overtake them with two counter points after before going for the finish and booking its place in the finals for a sixth straight time.
Michelle Morente led the way for Ateneo with 16 points, followed by Jhoana Maraguinot with 14 and Bea De Leon 12.
FEU was paced by Bernadeth Pons with 14 while graduating player Remy Palma exited the UAAP with 12 points.
“We had a hard time receiving in the last two sets but we just trusted each other and hung on. We have to do a better job focusing on the games,” said De Leon, named player of the game, after their win.
Meanwhile, La Salle barged into the finals of Season 79 after beating the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses in four sets, 25-14, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-13, last Saturday.
The finals of UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball between Ateneo and La Salle begins on Saturday,
April 29, with Game One at the Mall of Asia Arena.