With UAAP Final Four set, Ateneo hopes to lock up fifth place

With UAAP Final Four set, Ateneo hopes to lock up fifth place

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 06:56 PM April 14, 2024

Lyann De Guzman Ateneo Blue Eagles UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball

Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Lyann De Guzman in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Roma Mae Doromal knew there was no more wager even before the Ateneo Blue Eagles stepped on the court.

But it won’t prevent the Blue Eagles from keeping their pride intact with a 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 25-16 victory over the University of the East Lady Warriors on Sunday night in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

After the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws stunned the pace-setting University of Santo Tomas Tigresses on Saturday that completed the Final Four cast, the Blue Eagles won’t be chasing anything other than a dignified finish.

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SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball second round

“We accepted that fact we will no longer advance (to the Final Four). We just enjoy each other’s company and cherish these moments that we have on the court,” said Doromal after protecting Ateneo’s fort with 23 excellent digs and 23 receptions.

Lyann De Guzman went on a scoring binge with 25 points underlined by 21 attacks and had three blocks and an ace in Ateneo’s fourth win in 12 games.

Geezel Tsunashima was likewise on attack mode with 18 points and three blocks while Sophie Buena and AC Miner added 12 each.

“We just kept that fighting spirit alive throughout and gave everything we had,” said De Guzman, who contributed 10 digs and seven receptions in helping avert UE’s hitters from doing damage.

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With two games remaining, the Blue Eagles intend to sustain their position at fifth when they tackle La Salle and Adamson before wrapping up the season.

“We have no more chance in the top 4, but we need to fight for the best position. This match is very important and we’re aiming to stay in this position,” said Ateneo coach Sergio Veloso.

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De Guzman’s merciless shelling of UE’s territory set the tone at the onset that saw the Blue Eagles protecting a 21-14 lead following a Casiey Dongallo attack error.

Buena then stepped in and punched three of Ateneo’s last four points capped by an off-the-block spike at set point.

The direction favored the Lady Warriors in the second set after they weathered Ateneo’s fightback anchored on Buena and Miner.

Buena’s back-to-back hits and a down-the-line attack by Miner sandwiched Dongallo’s power tip as the Blue Eagles cut down a four-point deficit to 24-23.

But Miner’s serve was too strong on the next sequence, rewarding UE the set.

Ateneo extricated itself from a tight third set through the efforts of De Guzman, Zey Pacia and Tsunashima.

De Guzman rifled three power shots in the crucial stretch while effective blocking by Pacia and Tsunashima, who deflected Khy Cepeda’s spike at set point, proved critical.

The Blue Eagles weren’t in the mood to stretch the match further and finished it off in the fourth.

De Guzman led the assault with an energetic wallop followed by successive blocks courtesy again of Pacia and Tsunashima that put them comfortably ahead, 21-16, and Ateneo never wavered from there.

Two crucial attack errors by Cepada and Riza Nogales made it easier for the Blue Eagles before Tsunashima closed it out with a cross-court hit through the block.

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Dongallo, the tournament’s second best scorer, finished with 27 points, including 23 attacks, plus four blocks, eight receptions and 14 digs for the Lady Warriors, who dropped their ninth match in 11 outings.

TAGS: Ateneo Blue Eagles, UAAP Season 86

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