Lady Eagles, Lady Maroons clobber rivals
Showcasing its famous “heart strong” mantra, Ateneo displayed too much power in rolling past National University, 25-21, 25-19, 25-14, at the start of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Filoil Flying V Arena.
The Lady Eagles, who are vying for a third straight championship, rallied in the first two sets before closing out strong behind Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez, Madeleine Madayag, Bea de Leon and Jia Morado.
“We stayed calm and the composure was there,” said Valdez, the league’s popular two-time Most Valuable Player. “Coach Tai (Bundit) always tells us ‘heart strong, happy,’ and it works.”
Valdez, in her usual element, unloaded a game-high 18 points built on 15 kills and three aces.
Dark horse University of the Philippines also kicked off its campaign impressively by downing University of the East in straight sets, 25-20, 25-13, 25-21, earlier.
Promising as billed, UP rookies Justine Dorog and Diana Carlos teamed up with veteran Nicole Tiamzon for a combined 27 points.
The Lady Eagles, who completed a 16-0 sweep last year, started slow and even trailed at 7-14 in the second set.
But Valdez drew strong support with Madayag tossing in 13 points and De Leon adding 10.
Morado also tallied 33 excellent set for the Lady Eagles.
Ateneo likewise set its men’s title defense in motion with a 25-21, 25-18, 29-27 triumph over University of Santo Tomas.
Mark Espejo paced the Blue Eagles with 17 points, while Rex Intal and Ysay Marasigan scored 10 each.
Far Eastern University hacked out a 25-23, 26-24, 25-23 decision over UP in the other match, with Jeric Gacutan leading with a 12-point outing.
Lopsided softball wins
Meanwhile, three teams pulled off lopsided wins at the start of softball action, FEU clinched an outright title berth in juniors football and NU inched closer to an elimination sweep in juniors basketball over the weekend.
Riding on Cochise Bernabe’s solid pitching, UP forged an 11-0 shutout of Ateneo in the softball tournament at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
University of Santo Tomas also blanked UE, 4-0, while NU blasted La Salle in a 10-2 decision.
Outright title berth
Defending champion FEU, meanwhile, topped the double-round elimination with a maximum of 18 points to gain an outright Finals stint in juniors football.
Kieth Absalon netted a brace as the Baby Tamaraws capped their elimination-round run with a 4-2 tripping of the Blue Eaglets at Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Loyola Heights.
In juniors basketball, the Bullpups streaked to their 12th straight win after a 70-54 scuttling of the Junior Maroons behind Justine Baltazar’s 13 points and 19 rebounds.
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