ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY swept Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-13, 25-20, 25-16, to complete the playoff cast at the close of the 2023 Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship over the weekend at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
All but one player scored for the Blue Eagles as they clawed the second spot in Pool D with a 2-1 record for the last ticket in the playoffs featuring the top two teams from each group.
Ateneo bagged the crucial win in only 79 minutes, atoning for its meltdown against Pool D leader Far Eastern University after wasting a two-set lead to catch the last playoff bus.
Faye Sophia Nisperos, sister of former Ateneo star spiker Faith, carved her own mark with seven points on seven attacks to lead the team’s balanced barrage.
Sophia Beatriz Buena, Jennifer Delos Santos and AC Miner threw in six points each as Lyann De Guzman fired five for the wards of new head coach Sergio Veloso.
“It’s a big win but the most important is for our players trying to play within the system. It’s a new system where the players have to follow and they’re playing well within the system so far,” Veloso, also the mentor of the Philippine men’s volleyball team, said.
“That’s the most important. Now is the time to improve. We have an opportunity to play more.”
Ateneo joined the new Pool E with Pool A top-seed National U, Pool B No. 2 Arellano and Pool C No. 1 UST for the carryover playoffs of the 16-team SSL backed by Mikasa, Eurotel, Victory Liner, Summit Bottle Water, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken, R and B Milk Tea, Potato Corner, Rebel Sports, Converge ICT Solutions, Genius Sports and United Auctioneers, Inc.
In the other game, Adamson needed only 67 minutes to trounce San Beda U, 25-14, 25-10, 25-17 for a Pool B wipeout with a 3-0 card.
Rookie spiker Princess Aljibe fired 10 points to show the way for the Lady Falcons, who also manufactured eight points each courtesy of Jean Jamili and Jen Villegas.
Ayesha Juegos and Red Bascona added seven apiece for Adamson, which will be in the new Pool F with Pool A No. 2 UE, Pool C No. 2 College of St. Benilde and Pool D No. 1 Far Eastern U.
NU, the reigning champion, also completed a sweep in the final day of the elimination round with a 25-11, 25-12, 25-11 win against Jose Rizal U.
Eight players scored at least five points in NU’s barrage led by rookie Arah Ella Panique with 10 points on seven hits, two blocks and ace. Nataszha Kaye Bombita and reigning SSL MVP Alyssa Solomon added eight points each.
All the remaining eight teams will carry their elimination round record in the single-round robin playoffs within their groups starting on Oct. 14 to determine the final rankings for the crossover quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals will be a knockout format until the semifinals and the best-of-three championship showdown.