MANILA, Philippines - Davao fought back from three points down in the fifth then outlasted Ateneo in a thrilling finish to clinch a heart-stopping 22-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-18, 19-17 victory and enhance its Final Four bid in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference before a big crowd at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
The Agilas, first timers in the league who made quite an impression with a remarkable stint in the elims, racked up four straight points in the decider, turning a 10-13 deficit into a one-point lead then steeled themselves up in a gripping windup to beat the reigning UAAP champions and bounce back into the thick of things.
With a 1-1 card, counting its elims loss to groupmate University of Santo Tomas, Davao tied Ateneo, which beat Adamson in the qualifier, at second with one game left in the single round Last 8 phase in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
The win overshadowed National U’s emphatic 25-9, 25-14, 25-18 romp over Arellano U earlier that likewise moved the Lady Bulldogs to another semis appearance in the conference they ruled last year.
Jaja Santiago made an explosive return after a stint with the national team, firing 12 hits, including nine kills, as she matched her sister Dindin’s output while Carmin Aganon added 10 points as the troika led the Lady Bulldogs’ emphatic 61-minute romp.
Five Agilas churned out double-digit scores with Jocemer Tapic pouring in 16 hits, Princess Oliveros coming through with 14 markers, May Agton firing 13 kills, and Grace Berte and Mae Antipuesto chipping in 12 points apiece.
Alyssa Valdez came away with 23 hits and Michelle Morente and Amy Ahomiro backing her up with 20 and 11 points but the Lady Eagles failed to finish off the Agilas when they took a 13-10 lead in the decider.
Meanwhile, the NU-Arellano match and the Ateneo-Davao duel will be shown on GMA News TV Channel starting at 1 p.m. today, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
The Lady Bulldogs hammered in 39 spikes as against the Lady Chiefs’ paltry 19-kill output as the latter failed to break through NU’s rock-solid defense upfront and struggled with their reception. The Bustillos-based belles also pooled five blocks while scoring 12 aces, including three each from Jaja Santiago and former ace setter Rubie de Leon, now a guest player.