UAAP: Valdez, Ateneo knock off Adamson in stepladder semis
MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo eked out a hard-earned 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 win over Adamson to advance in the stepladder Final Four of the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Alyssa Valdez led four Lady Eagles in double figures with 19 points. Ateneo tangles with no.2 National University on Wednesday with the Lady Bulldogs owning a twice-to-beat advantage.
“Ever since, Adamson has been a tough team to compete with so there’s always pressure playing them,” said a beaming skipper Valdez, who also had three blocks and three aces.
“We were just focused on our goal as a team,” added Valdez.
Michelle Morente and Ella de Jesus added 12 and 11 points, respectively for the Lady Eagles as the two keyed in strong finishing kick.
De Jesus scored off-the-block that broke the last deadlock, 20-19, while Morente provided the game-clinching point on a hit that went off the arms of Amanda Villanueva.
Valdez, contending for MVP honors this season, made back-to-back hits with the last — going through two blockers — putting her team at match point.
Amy Ahomiro chipped in 10 points for Ateneo, which made it a double celebration after the Blue Eagles secured a Finals appearance following a pulsating five-set win over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws earlier.
Shiela Pineda scored 12 points and Mayette Zapanta tallied nine in their final game for the Lady Falcons, who made it to the last four after knocking off FEU in a playoff.
NU swept Ateneo in their two meetings in the elimination round and Valdez knows how much of a challenge it will be for the Lady Eagles.
“They’re a stable team and really a hard team to deal with. We have to focus on our blocking and defense because we all know how good they are offensively,” said Valdez.