Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University secured its fifth straight finals appearance after defeating University of the Philippines, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21, at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 78 women’s volleyball semifinals on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I am for the fifth time that I am entering into the finals with different teammates and different coaches. I am just really lucky to be there again for the last time,” said two-time Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez during the postmatch news conference.
Valdez scored 16 markers highlighted by 14 kills but it is Jhoana Maraguinot who saved the day with 17 points including 10 spikes, three blocks and four aces.
“Jho is very reliable. I love her so much,” said Valdez.
Valdez commended U.P.’s diligence showed during their game.
“But definitely, let us also give it up to UP who gave us a good fight today and for a rookie team, very young team, for the first time they enter into the final four. Congratulations,” Valdez said.
Amy Ahomiro finished with nine points while Bea de Leon scored eight for Ateneo.
Jia Morado notched three points but powered 40 non-scoring excellent sets.
Nicole Tiamzon, on the other hand, had 13 points in 11 spikes and a piece of block and ace.
Team captain Katherine Bersola chipped in eight while Iza Molde only scored four for U.P.
In the men’s division, Ateneo pulled off a straight set victory, 25-12, 25-13, 25-16, against University of the Philippines.
Marck Jesus Espejo posted 12 markers while team captain Ysrael Marasigan notched 11 points through eight spikes and three blocks.
Rex Intal and Joshua Villanueva had 16 points combined for Ateneo.
On the other hand, UP team captain Alfred Valbuena only managed to register eight points while Wendel Miguel chipped in seven markers. JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID