MANILA – Ateneo Lady Eagles banked on its experience to easily stave off University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22, in the do-or-die Game 3 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball finals on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Kat Tolentino led the way with 15 points, including 11 attacks, while Madeleine Madayag added 10 markers for the Lady Eagles. Isabel Beatriz “Bea” de Leon, who was hailed as Finals MVP, contributed six markers.
The coronation of the Lady Eagles was a fitting send off for De Leon, Madayag and Negrense Kassandra Gequillana, who have played their final game for the Katipunan-based spikers.
The Lady Eagles were off to 11-5 start but the Golden Tigresses rallied to within 12-14 but the Ateneo leaned on consecutive errors by UST to establish a 22-12 advantage for a 1-0 set edge.
The Lady Eagles got the lead early in the second set but a strong run by the Golden Tigresses gave them a 16-12 lead. Ateneo leaned on hits from De Leon, Madayag and Tolentino to gain the lead at 24-22 before the set was closed on UST error.
With the UAAP title already in sight, the Lady Eagles jumped to a 16-9 lead in the third set behind Madayag and Tolentino. The Golden Tigresses rallied to tie the count at 21-all before Tolentino, Madayag and Jules Samonte put on the finishing touches for Ateneo.
Cherry Rondina ended her UAAP career with 18 points, including 17 attacks, while Ejiya Laure added 10 markers for the Golden Tigresses. Also ending her UAAP career for UST was Ilongga libero Rica Rivera.
* ATENEO – Tolentino 15, Madayag 10, De Leon 6, Samonte 6, Gaston 5, Wong 4, Gandler 0, Ravena (L), Gequillana (L).
* UST – Rondina 18, Laure 10, Viray 6, Jimenez 5, Balcorta 5, Bicar 1, Galdonez 0, Tuazon 0, Pacres 0, Galanza 0, Roldan 0, Delerio (L), Rivera (L)./PN