ATENEO REDISCOVERED its rhythm in the fifth set to hack out a thrilling 25-11, 25-18, 17-25, 19-25, 15-11 victory over University of Santo Tomas Friday night and keep its semifinal hopes alive in the Shakey?s V-League Season 6 second conference.
With the victory, the Lady Eagles finished the quarterfinals with a 7-5 record, in a tie with Far Eastern U and Adamson, which overwhelmed St. Benilde, 25-17, 25-15, 25-10, in the first game at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
But the Lady Falcons gained outright entry to the semifinals owing to their superior quotient, leaving Ateneo and FEU to slug it out for the No. 4 spot in a one-game playoff tomorrow.
Skipper Angela Benting pumped in 21 kills and finished with 24 points for Adamson, which also drew a combined 26 points from Paulina Soriano and Angelica Quinlog.
Santo Tomas and San Sebastian clinched the top two spots in the semifinals that start on Tuesday.
The defending champion Lady Stags will face the Lady Falcons in a best of three series, while the Tigresses clash with the winner of the Ateneo-FEU showdown.
?What matters to me is the fact that we avoided elimination,? said Ateneo coach Clint Malazo, after the Lady Eagles pinned on the Tigresses only their second loss in the tournament.
Fille Cainglet fired three of the last seven points and the Lady Eagles pulled away from an 11-all deadlock to prevail in an hour and 45 minutes.
With the Tigresses showing up with only seven players, the Lady Eagles dominated the first two sets.
UST turned the tide in the third set as skipper Aiza Maizo, who came in late after attending class, lifted the Tigresses from an early 3-8 deficit.
UST coach Cesael Delos Santos defended the late arrival of some of his players, saying they needed to attend their classes.
?We didn?t give the game away,? said Delos Santos. ?They couldn?t afford to miss more classes with the semifinals coming up next week and the UAAP season staring in December.?
Angeline Gervacio topscored for Ateneo with a career-high 23 points, including the kill that shattered an 11-all tie in the fifth set, while Cainglet added 17.