Ateneo De Manila University clinched a Final Four berth as it posted a comeback 25-22, 20-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-9 victory over University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Lady Eagles showed nerves of steel down the stretch, erasing a one-set deficit en route to securing a semifinals seat with a 9-3 win-loss record.
Kat Tolentino sizzled with a game-high 21 points anchored on 17 attacks while Jho Maraguinot pumped in 19 markers for the second-running Ateneo, which booked its ninth straight playoff appearance.
Team skipper Maddie Madayag scored 11 points as the Tai Bundit-coached squad extended its winning streak to five in its fourth five-setter this season.
Sisi Rondina finished with 21 points for the No. 6 Golden Tigresses, who are now in danger of being eliminated with a 4-8 record.
A win by National University (NU) against University of the Philippines (UP) in the match still ongoing at press time will kick UST out of the playoff race.
Behind Carla Sandoval’s brilliant plays, UST cruised to a 19-11 lead in the third set en route to bagging a one-set advantage.
But Ateneo capitalized on its opponent’s errors to grab the fourth frame. With the momentum on their side, the last season’s runner-up seized a commanding 12-4 spread in the deciding fifth.
Kate Viray steered the Tigresses’ 5-0 spurt to inch within 9-12. Tolentino and Maraguinot though took charge in wrapping up the gutsy win for the Lady Eagles.
Earlier in the men’s division, National U regained the solo lead after eliminating UP, 25-12, 19-25, 25-15, 25-20.
Madz Gampong fired 21 points to pace the Bulldogs’ balanced offense that gave them the solo top spot on a 10-2 card.
Bryan Bagunas tallied 19 points, Francis Saura registered 13 markers while Kim Malabunga and James Natividad added 10 apiece for the Final Four-bound NU.
The Maroon Spikers slid to 3-9, bowing out of contention with still two games at hand.
In the second match, Adamson University boosted its Final Four bid as it downed De La Salle University, 25-22, 16-25, 25-15, 29-27.
The Soaring Falcons copped their third straight win for an even 6-6 sheet while the Green Spikers fell to the verge of elimination with a 4-8 slate.