Ateneo de Manila University caught National University (NU) in its worst form in the first two sets then spoiled its third set fightback with a strong windup to complete a 25-19, 25-13, 25-23 victory and move in the threshold of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Championship on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Eagles sustained their form coming off a knockout match with the UST Tigresses, dishing out a superb all-around game despite the absence of head coach Tai Bundit and pouncing on every Bulldog error, poor recept-ion and slop-py floor de-fense to score the surprisingly one-sided one-hour, 12-minute victory.
“We knew we needed to come out strong for us to get the momentum,” said Ateneo star player Alyssa Valdez, who finished with 20 hits, including 15 attack points, and later took the Conference Most Valuable Player honors.
“Coach Parley guided and helped us while coach Tai was out,” said Valdez, referring to assistant mentor Parley Tupaz, who took over from Bundit, who had to honor a previous commitment back home in Thailand.
NU did play without guest player and former ace hitter Dindin Manabat but the rest of the Lady Bulldogs played below par that had coach Roger Gorayeb shaking his head in frustration over his wards’ failure to step up in the first two sets.
“What’s happening? What’s lacking (in your game). You need to be confident, especially in reception. If we can’t receive, we can’t get any attack,” said Gorayeb.
Kim Gequillana added 11 points for Ateneo and Jhoanna Maraguinot chipped in nine markers and Amy Ahomiro and Bea de Leon scored five hits apiece.
Myla Pablo wound up with 11 markers while skipper Jorelle Singh had eight and Jaja Santiago finished with seven points for the Lady Bulldogs, who hope to bounce back strong with Manabat back in the fold next week.