MANILA, Philippines—Alyssa Valdez matched her career-best 30 points as Ateneo dispatched Adamson, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11, Sunday in the 75th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan city.
Valdez more than made amends for her errors with three straight service aces that gave the Lady Eagles the lead, 9-7, in the fifth set in a match where no team gave an inch.
Ateneo gave in a taut opening set that saw no team lead by more than three points, won the next two sets and again went back into its errant ways in the fourth set.
“We had so many errors this game,” said an obviously frustrated head coach Roger Gorayeb after the match. “That’s considering all we practiced was service.”
The Lady Eagles had 12 service errors but survived in the end against the gritty Lady Falcons as they turned to an exhausted Valdez, Fille Cainglet and Gretchen Ho to execute clutch plays.
“Whether it’s five or three sets, what matters is that we won. It’s all about the team effort,” added Gorayeb.
Cainglet had 15 points and 16 digs, Dzi Gervacio added 12 points, and libero Denden Lazaro had a game-high 18 digs as Ateneo goes 6-0.
Gretchen Ho, who was quiet in the early part of the match, came up with back-to-back blocks to complete the Lady Eagles’ comeback in the fifth set and seal the outcome.
Pau Soriano forefronted the Lady Falcons’ gallant stand with 21 points while Sheila Pineda and Mayette Zapanta drilled in 15 markers apiece.
Down 9-13 in the fifth set, Zapanta drilled in back-to-back hits, but that was the last the Lady Falcons—who had their two-game win streak snapped—would score.
Adamson opened the game determined to blemish Ateneo’s record, but after letting the close second set slip away, the Lady Falcons lost the fire in the third set.
They still managed to recover and forge a fifth set—but only to flounder toward the end of the fifth set for a 3-2 record.