Ateneo stops FEU to regain solo lead

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 Ateneo de Manila University’s Alyssa Valdez (left) and Gyzelle Tan (right) celebrate after winning a point against Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City. Photo by CZAR DANCEL

Ateneo de Manila University’s Alyssa Valdez (left) and Gyzelle Tan (right) celebrate after winning a point against Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City. Photo by CZAR DANCEL

Reigning champion Ateneo De Manila University regained the solo lead by sweeping Far Eastern University (FEU), 25-15, 25-10, 25-21, on Sunday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball at The Arena in San Juan City.

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Two-time Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez powered Ateneo with 20 points on 17 kills and three blocks, while Jhoana Maraguinot added six kills, three service points and a block to lead the Lady Blue Eagles to an 8-2 mark.

FEU dropped to 5-5 win-loss record but stayed in fourth place.

Earlier, towering Jaja Santiago steered National University (NU) to an easy 25-15, 25-12, 25-11 win over a winless University of the East (UE).

Santiago, who delivered 16 points including 13 kills, joined forces with Jorelle Singh and Myla Pablo, to send the Lady Bulldogs to a 5-5 win-loss record and keep the Lady Warriors winless in 10 games.

Pablo hit nine kills for 10 points while Singh had eight points and Aiko Urdas chipped in six points for the Lady Bulldogs, who tallied a total of 39 kills.

The Lady Warriors, who suffered 55 straight losing skid since Season 74, are already out of contention in the Final Four.

In the men’s action, University of the Philippines (UP) eliminated UE for a spot in the Final Four, 25-9, 25-22, 25-19, to improve to 5-5 win-loss record that placed them in fifth place.

Alfred Gerard Valbuena finished with 13 points including 12 kills, while Wendel Miguel added 11 points to lead the Fighting Maroons.

UE fell to its 10th straight setback this season for a total of 24 losses since last year.

Defending champion Ateneo De Manila University got at least a playoff for a Final Four slot after crushing NU, 26-28, 25-23, 25-21, 25-17, to stretch its winning run to seven games and keep the top spot with a 9-1 win-loss record.

Marck Jesus Espejo piled up 25 points, including 19 kills and four blocks to lead Ateneo.

The Bulldogs fell to 6-4 win-loss record.

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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