Lady Eagles in big start
Down Lady Tamaraws in 4; SSC tossers sweep LetranBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Defending champion Ateneo got superb efforts from its starters to hammer out a 25-17, 25-18, 19-25, 25-15 victory over Far Eastern U yesterday at the start of the Shakey’s V-League Season 9 First Conference at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Fille Cainglet, Alyssa Valdez, Angeline Gervacio and Thai import Kesinee Lithawat finished in double-figures as the Lady Eagles brandished their awesome firepower to gain a headstart in the 10-team tournament.
San Sebastian, with veteran reinforcement Jeng Bualee holding fort, proved too strong for returning Letran, 26-24, 25-12, 25-18, in the opening match.
Bualee, playing her 10th conference for the Lady Stags, fired 24 points as she almost singlehandedly carried San Sebastian to the win in 75 minutes.
The Lady Stags rode the momentum of their escape act in the first set, cruising in the next two as the Lady Knights offered token resistance the rest of the way.
“We’re lucky we got the first set and got going with our game in the second (set),” said San Sebastian coach Clint Malazo. “Bualee’s presence is important to us.”
While Bualee displayed a terrific individual performance, the Lady Eagles kept the Tamaraws guessing with the quartet of Valdez, Cainglet, Gervacio and Kesinee taking turns puncturing the defense.
Cainglet finished with 18 points on a variety of off-speed spikes and down-the-line kills, while Valdez chipped in 14 off 35 attacks.
Gervacio accounted for three of the Lady Eagles’ seven service aces as well as four of the 11 points off blocks and wound up with 13 points to match Kesinee’s output.
“The girls are showing a lot of confidence which comes from their good performance from the UAAP,” said Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb, whose Lady Eagles reached the UAAP Finals for the first time early this year.
The Lady Eagles zoomed to a two-set lead, but looked sloppy in the third set, giving the Lady Tamaraws a lifeline. But Kesinee and Cainglet restored order in the final frame, where the Lady Eagles were hardly troubled.
Rosemarie Vargas, the UAAP best scorer last season, had 18 points for FEU.