Ateneo de Manila University defeated National University, 25-22, 8-25, 25-19, 25-22, on Saturday to return to the finals of UAAP women’s volleyball.
Ateneo’s star spiker Alyssa Valdez delivered 16 kills and five blocks for 22 points, while Ella de Jesus added 12 points to send the Lady Blue Eagles to arrange a finals rematch with defending champion De La Salle University on Wednesday.
La Salle, unbeaten this season, has earned a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals.
Amy Ahomiro scored a kill in the last phase as Ateneo took the first set. But NU bounced back in the second, capitalizing on a string of Ateneo errors and with the towering Dindin Santiago delivering five kills, to tie the match at one set all.
Valdez opened the third set with powerful hits before De Jesus’ service-point to give the Lady Blue Eagles an early 2-1 lead. Valdez scored on a spike and Santiago’s attack went long as Ateneo clinched the third set.
NU and Ateneo traded points at the start of fourth set before Ateneo’s tallest player Aerial Patnongon rejected Santiago’s kill to give the Lady Blue Eagles an 22-18 edge.
NU came within 21-23 but committed successive errors that cost it the game.
The Lady Bulldogs lost their twice-to-beat advantage after bowing to Ateneo in four sets on Wednesday.
In the men’s side, NU slammed Ateneo, 29-27, 25-22,25-22, behind the performance of spiker Edwin Tolentino and Peter Torres and is a game away from back-to-back titles.
Tolentino led the Bulldogs with 12 points, including the go-ahead kill in the third set.
JOSEF T. RAMOS