Ateneo's Alyssa Valdez outsmarts UP's blockers. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
Lady Bulldogs mangle Tigresses
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo downed University of the Philippines, 25-20, 25-21, 25-13, for its fourth straight win in UAAP Season 76 women's volleyball tournament yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.
Alyssa Valdez had 24 hits, including three service aces, while Amy Ahomiro chipped in 14 points and libero Denden Lazaro collected 11 digs for the Lady Eagles.
Moving up to 4-1 card, Ateneo kept within striking distance of defending champion De La Salle, which is unbeaten in four starts.
National University (NU) also made its presence felt with an otherwise easy 25-18, 25-13, 25-21 victory over University of Santo Tomas (UST), with Dindin Santiago registering 19 points with two blocks and Mina Aganon scoring 14 points.
NU improved to 4-1 to tie Ateneo at second place behind unbeaten De La Salle, while UST, which drew 12 points from Pam Lastimonsa, dropped to 2-3.
The Lady Maroons showed some semblance of a fight when they threatened at 21-22 before Valdez and rookie Ana Gopico took charge late in the second frame to give the Katipunan-based tossers a two-set buffer heading.
Assistant coach Parley Tupaz, who subbed while head coach Anusorn “Tai” Bundit went back for a 10-day tour of duty in his native Thailand, was not satisfied on the way his wards performed, especially in the second set.
"Sumabay kami sa laro ng UP. Hindi namin laro iyon. Masyado silang nag-relax," said Tupaz, a former national beach volleyball standout. "Marami kaming service errors at sa mga spikes na hindi over."
Bundit, who took over from Roger Gorayeb in the off-season, will miss the rest of the first round, including a much-anticipated January 12 duel with De La Salle at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kathy Bersola made 12 points, including four blocks for the Lady Maroons, who stumbled to their fifth consecutive setback.
In men's play, titleholder NU (5-0) overcame a stubborn Ateneo (2-3), 17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 15-9, with Peter Torres leading the way with 18 hits, while reigning MVP Red Christensen had 21 hits and four digs as De La Salle (2-3) turned back UE (0-5), 25-21, 25-16, 25-18.