Ateneo sweeps elims, earns finals slot

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Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University survived De La Salle University, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 27-25, to automatically advance to the finals after completing a 14-0 sweep of the elimination round in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Reigning Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez led Ateneo with 29 points while Bea De Leon and Jhoana Maraguinot added 11 and 10, respectively.

The Lady Eagles will be holding a thrice-to-beat advantage in the championship round, leaving the remaining teams slugging it out for the last ticket to the finals.

The Lady Spikers fell to 12-2.

Earlier, Jaja Santiago and Rizza Mandapat sparkled as National University put Adamson University on the brink of elimination with a 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19 win and make it to the Final Four for the third straight year.

The 6-foot-4 Santiago had six blocks to finish with 25 points, while Mandapat played her best game of the season with 12 points and nine digs for the Lady Bulldogs.

Far Eastern University ended a three-game slide by topping University of the Philippines, 19-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19, and force a four-way logjam in fourth spot along with its victims, Adamson and idle University of Santo Tomas at 5-8.

Bernadette Pons regained her old form, finishing with 20 hits, including three service aces, and 11 digs, while Remy Palma had three blocks for a 16-hit showing for FEU.

The Lady Tamaraws will face the Lady Falcons in a virtual do-or-die match on Saturday.

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