Lady Eagles outhustle Tigresses for V-L crown
ATENEO capped a comeback with a crown.
After blowing a 2-0 set lead, the Lady Eagles stormed back in the decider to down University of Santo Tomas in a five-set thriller, 25-19, 25-14, 17-25, 20-25, 15-13, yesterday and capture the Season 9 first conference championship of the Shakey’s V-League.
Alyssa Valdes rammed in 22 points while Thai Phee Nok Kesinee and Dzi Gervacio also came up with timely hits to power the Lady Eagles past a UST side that kept coming back in the winner-take-all Game 3 at the jampacked Filoil Flying V Arena.
“I wasn’t giving much instructions anymore [in the fifth set],” said Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb. “They already know what to do, so it was just a matter of heart.”
But it was a match that could have gone either way until the final minutes when at 13-13 the Lady Eagles wrapped it up on a Gervacio kill following a wide hit from UST’s Judy Caballejo.
Kesinee, the Thai import who provided a big lift for the Lady Eagles the entire conference, had three service aces and a couple of blocks in a 15-point performance.
Gervacio also fired the clinching hits in the first two sets before finishing with 12 points.
“When UST came back, we knew we just have to go all out and all heart,” said Valdez, who bagged the Finals MVP plum.
The Lady Eagles defended their crown with Fille Cainglet, Suzanne Roces, Jem Ferrer and Gretchen Ho also coming through.
Roces also stepped up in the final set to help the Lady Eagles go up to 12-7, before the Tigresses, behind Kaensing Utaiwan, fired six of the match’s next seven points to forge the last deadlock at 13.
“We’re still glad that we fought until the end,” said UST captain Rhea Dimaculangan after the Tigresses fell short of their bid for a seventh crown.
Last week, the Lady Eagles also showed unyielding forms by leveling the series with a 25-17, 22-25, 25-21, 28-26 triumph in Game 2.
The gutsy win came after the Tigresses foiled the Lady Eagles’ bid for a perfect season by snapping their 10-game streak, 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23, in Game 1.
“Even if we didn’t get the championship, we gained a lot,” said UST coach Odjie Mamon. With a report from Randolph Leongson, Contributor
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