Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University bounced back with a 26-24, 25-17, 25-19 victory over National University (NU) to claim the solo lead in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
After absorbing back-to-back defeats at the hands of De La Salle University and University of the Philippines, the Lady Eagles regained winning form behind the efforts of two-time Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez and sophomore Jhoanna Maraguinot.
Valdez sizzled with 14 hits, five aces and a block while Maraguinot chipped in nine attacks, two blocks and an ace as Ateneo took the top spot with a 7-2 card.
“We just need to play happy kahit na physically and emotionally tire na kami. We are taking it one game at a time,” said Valdez, who also got ample support from opposite spiker Kim Gequillana and middle hitter Maddie Madayag.
NU dropped to 4-5 as Jaja Santiago was the only player in double figures with 12.
Earlier, Far Eastern University (FEU) easily disposed of University of the East (UE), 25-13, 25-18, 25-21, to gain its fifth win in nine games.
Open spiker Bernadeth Pons powered the Lady Tamaraws with 18 attacks and one ace while Toni Rose Basas and Jerilli Malabanan combined for 17 markers and veteran playmaker displayed 23 excellent sets.
“Ginawa lang namin ang dapat naming gawin lalo na nung medyo lumalamang na ang UE. Nag-focus lang kami para maibalik’ yung laro namin,” said Pons, who also got seven digs and four receptions.
The Lady Warriors remained winless in nine games.
Shaya Adorador was the only bright spot for UE as she scored 10 hits and an ace.
In the men’s division, reigning titlist Ateneo solidified its hold of the top spot by blasting University of the Philippines, 25-9, 27-25, 25-15, while NU survived the late comeback of UE before posting a 25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 29-27 win.
The Blue Spikers improved to 8-1 so as the Bulldogs, who raised their record to 6-3.
The Fighting Maroons fell to 4-5 and Red Warriors, like their female counterparts, suffered their ninth straight loss.