Ateneo de Manila University set up a playoff for the fourth seed after a four-set triumph over University of the Philippines, 19-25, 25-11, 25-18, 25-19 in the final elimination match of the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament, Thursday night. at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Blue Eagles will face Adamson University, who was coming off an emotional win over De La Salle University earlier in the day, on Saturday at 5:00 PM in the playoff for the last spot in the stepladder semis after submitting identical 8-6 win-loss cards.
Faith Nisperos finished with a team-best 19 points on 16 attacks, two blocks, and an ace while AC Miner recorded a season-high eight blocks to gather 17 points for Ateneo.
“Actually we’re watching [the Adamson-La Salle game] but wala, no reaction yung mga players e,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro. “Naka-focus kami sa UP game muna, yun muna ang pinag usapan namin. One game at a time, if it’s for us. What’s important is we did our job, now natapos kami sa UP we’ll be preparing for Adamson.”
Erika Raagas and Vanie Gandler kick-started a 9-2 blast that turned a one-point deficit to a 24-18 lead for Ateneo in the fourth set. Raagas committed a service error before Gandler scored one in to finish the game.
Gandler scored 14 points, all of which came from attacks, while Raagas chipped in 12 in the win. Jaja Maraguinot, on the other hand, dished out 24 excellent sets while Roma Doromal collected 22 excellent receptions and nine excellent digs.
“UP came prepared pa rin for today. Sabi nga namin, although out of contention na, they played their hearts out. They are talented, they prepared well, they played well, so talagang chinallenge kami,” Almadro said.
After dropping the opener, the Blue Eagles ran roughshod on the Fighting Maroons in the second set and took a convincing 25-11 win to tie the series. The defending champions sustained their momentum, bagging the third set for the 2-1 lead.
Alyssa Bertolano’s 24-point outburst went for naught as UP ended its Season 84 campaign on a losing note. She also had 12 excellent receptions and nine digs in the loss that dropped her side to a 5-9 slate – good for fifth place.
The Ateneo-Adamson showdown will be played on Saturday at 5:00 PM. (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)