ATENEO de Manila recovered from a second set fall before turning back University of the East (UE), 25-14, 18-25, 25-13, 25-18, to inch closer to the Final Four of Season 80 University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
After sweeping Far Eastern University (FEU) and National University in its first two games of the second round, Ateneo lost its first set of the round against UE, which vaunted a strong showing in the second set, pulling away 22-16 and never looking back to tie the match at one-set apiece.
From that fall, Ateneo’s 6-foot-3 star Kat Tolentino started to rise to the occasion, leading the Lady Eagles’ rout in the third set before finishing off the Lady Red Warriors in the fourth set to tighten their grip of the second spot, staying undefeated in three second round matches with a 7-3 win-loss record.
“I think that [second-set loss] was really our errors and our doing. The atmosphere of the second set, it was low. But it’s good we bounced back in the third and fourth,” said Tolentino, who led the way with 22 points built on 16 spikes, five blocks and a service ace.
“I started off slow in the first round and kind of realized in the second, once the second round started that I have to step up, being one of the older girls, and one of the seniors. I have to also take a bigger role,” she added.
Jho Maraguinot chipped in 16 points with 18 digs, while skipper Maddie Madayag and Jules Samonte added 13 and 11 hits, respectively. Playmaker Deanna Wong also shone bright making 50 excellent sets on top of four markers.
The Lady Red Warriors are on the brink of elimination after losing their second straight match reeling back at the bottom place with a 2-8 record.
Graduating skipper Shaya Adorador erupted with 21 points, while libero Kath Arado protected the floor with 30 digs and 16 receptions in a losing effort.
In men’s play, Jude Garcia and Redijohn Paler unloaded 13 hits each, while John Paul Bugaoan nailed 11 points to carry FEU (8-2) past University of the Philippines (3-7) in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21, and clinched at least a playoff in the Final Four.
Arjay Onia and Reymark Woo finished with 18 and 14 points, respectively to keep De La Salle (4-6) in semifinals contention and send UE to its 10th straight lost, 25-23, 25-17, 25-15.