MANILA – Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles stifled Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-14, in the do-or-die semifinals of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball on Wednesday night at the San Juan Arena.
Kat Tolentino led the way with 19 points, on 17 attacks and two blocks, while Madeleine Madayag and Pauline Gaston added 12 markers apiece and Bea de Leon had nine markers for the Lady Eagles.
The Lady Eagles will next face University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses in a best-of-three championship showdown beginning on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Eagles drew first blood in the match with the Lady Tamaraws committing errors after errors for a 1-0 set edge. FEU, however, was able to bounce back in the second to even things up at 1-1.
FEU opened the third set with an 8-3 edge but it was easily erased by the Ateneo and took an 18-15 edge before nearly closing the set at 24-20. The Lady Tamaraws cut the deficit to 23-24 before Gaston closed the set for Lady Eagles with a cut shot.
In the fourth set, the Lady Eagles zoomed to an 8-1 start before the Lady Tamaraws tried to rally back at 15-20 but Ateneo sealed its championship spot with a 10-4 finishing run.
“I’m just an instrument, importante will and heart ng mga players. They really worked hard, pushed each other up,” Blue Eagles head coach Oliver Almadro said. “Pero hindi pa dito tapos mission nila.”
Jerrili Malabanan finished her UAAP career with 18 points, while Heather Guino-o added 12 markers for the Lady Tamaraws, which also drew 31 digs and 11 excellent receptions from Ilongga Ria Duremdes./PN