Lady Eagles secure Final Four top spot

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Ateneo De Manila University survived an exhausting fifth setter game against tough rival De La Salle University, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 15-5, to claim the top seeding in the Final Four of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 women’s volleyball on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Ateneo finished the elimination round with a 12-2 win-loss record as Alyssa Valdez scored 20 kills, three aces and a block, while Jhoanna Maraguinot had 14 points and Beatrice De Leon finished with 13 points.

La Salle dropped to 10-3 win-loss record.

Earlier, University of the Philippines (UP) overcame a sluggish start to outplay University of Santo Tomas (UST), 17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-20, and get at least a playoff berth for a Final Four spot.

Rookie Isa Molde delivered 16 kills along with three blocks and four service points to lead the Lady Fighting Maroons with 23 points, while Marian Buitre had 12 points and Nicole Anne Tiamzon made 10 points also for UP.

The Lady Fighting Maroons hiked their win-loss record to 8-6, which earned them at least a playoff berth for a Final Four spot. The Tigresses, on the other hand, absorbed a 5-9 win-loss record and was completely out of contention for a slot in the Final Four for four straight years.

EJ Laure and Carmela Tunay led the Tigresses with 20 points and 12 points, respectively.

In the men’s action, two-time Most Valuable Player winner Marck Espejo scored 17 points including 12 kills and five service points as Ateneo got back against Adamson University, 25-22, 25-17, 25-22, to post an impressive 13-1 win-loss record.

De La Salle University, which is already eliminate for a Final Four spot, ended the season on a high note by scoring a 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 win over University of the East (UE) and posted a 5-9 win-loss record occupying sixth place.

The winless Red Warriors suffered a 0-14 win-loss record. UE stays winless in men’s volleyball since Season 76.

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