Ateneo tightens grip on top spot; National U stuns UP
On a day National University pulled off a huge stunner, Ateneo quietly locked up a fifth straight victory and tightened its hold on the top spot in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball—and the Lady Eagles owe a lot of their success to the emergence of Bea de Leon as a team leader.
The feisty team captain scored 14 points in her breakout game for the season as Ateneo demolished Adamson, 25-8, 22-25, 25-16, 25-10, on Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
The win did not generate as much thrills as the one later in the day, when the Lady Bulldogs chewed off three match points to shock University of the Philippines, 25-17, 14-25, 17-25, 25-23, 17-15.
But it cemented Ateneo’s status as top title threat after that label was put in question by an opening weekend defeat to defending champion and fierce rival La Salle.
De Leon received profuse praises from Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, who said his senior player “always makes things easier for me on the bench.”
Known for providing leadership and spunk rather than piling up points, De Leon said she got a boost when Almadro told her that he doesn’t “always need my points, he just wants my voice.”
Especially since the points came from just about everybody in the Ateneo lineup, with Ponggay Gaston making 16, including six from the service area.
Kat Tolentino added 15, while Jules Samonte and Maddie Madayag chipped in seven and six, respectively.
“That’s the difference now, they are talking to each other. And they know what they want to do out there,” said Almadro.
The Lady Eagles are now alone on top with a 5-1 card while inflicting on the Lady Falcons their fifth defeat in six games.
Rookies Ivy Lacsina and Princess Robles combined for 31 points, while libero Jennifer Nierva had 29 excellent receptions and 26 excellent digs for the Lady Bulldogs, who snapped their three-game losing streak.
The Lady Maroons, despite the 20 points from Tots Carlos and 15 from Justine Dorog, fell to their third defeat in six matches despite seemingly being in control for a majority of the match.
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