Ateneo rallies from 0-2 down, nips La Salle to forge UAAP decider
This series has turned into an epic.
Defending champion Ateneo forced a deciding third game in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball Finals, coming back from two sets down to shock De La Salle University, 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11, Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Newly-crowned MVP Alyssa Valdez stepped on the clutch pedal and scored five of the Lady Eagles’ last seven points to give her team another crack at defending the crown on Saturday.
Bea De Leon scored the point that would force a Game 3, denying Season 78 Best Blocker Mary Joy Baron in the final play.
La Salle missed a chance to wrap up the series after allowing Ateneo to gain momentum after the Lady Spikers led 2-0.
Valdez knows the win against the Lady Spikers in the second game is small compared to what will happen on Saturday.
“Winning is not just about winning, after winning there are bigger responsibilities,” Valdez said. “Babalikan namin ang nangyari today and remember things we did right.”
“Physically kailangan mag prepare, but prepare also mentally kasi last game na. Mind over matter kahit masakit, kahit anong mangyari lalaban.”
A brief 5-5 tie in the fifth set was immediately broken when Jhoana Maraguinot gave Ateneo a 6-5 lead before Valdez took over scoring six consecutive points.
Maraguinot followed it up and scored the 14-11 match point.
Valdez was once again stellar for Ateneo, scoring 34 points, 32 coming off spikes, while Maraguinot and Bea De Leon added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Kim Dy led La Salle with 16 points while Mika Reyes, who rallied La Salle late in the fifth set for naught, added 14.
Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo also finished in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Ateneo relied mainly on its offense, pounding De La Salle to the tune of 63 points off spikes.
Both teams committed 33 errors apiece.
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