UST trips Ateneo to draw first blood in the Shakey’s V-League finalsBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas recovered from a lousy first set to trounce Ateneo, 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23, Sunday night and draw first blood in the finals in the 9th Shakey’s V-League First Conference.
Maru Banaticla scored to give UST the match-point edge before sealing the first victory in the best-of-three series, which puts the Tigresses closer to their seventh title in the tournament history.
The locals led the Tigresses as Banaticla finished with 14 points, while Judy Caballejo, Maika Ortiz and guest player Mary Jean Balse all churned out double digits.
The Tigresses made sure to stay clear of slow starts in the succeeding sets, established an early lead and worked hard in the face of a fiery Lady Eagles to maintain it.
Ateneo, fighting to snare back-to-back titles, had a chance to even the match in the toe-to-toe fourth set highlighted by countless deadlocks, but allowed UST to score the final two points.
Spoiled by the loss were the impressive 20-point outing from sophomore Alyssa Valdez and 14 points from Fille Cainglet, whose hit tied the match at 23-all in the final set.
The Tigresses and the Lady Eagles face again on Tuesday at 4 p.m. for game two of the finals at the Arena in San Juan city.