The UST Tigresses celebrate after stopping an attack from the Ateneo Lady Eagles in their Shakey's V-League match Sunday at the San Juan Arena. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas fashioned out a surprise straight-set victory over UAAP champion Ateneo, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19, to clinch the first semifinal berth in Group I even as Far Eastern U eased out St. Benilde, 25-18, 25-18, 25-17, to stay in the Final Four hunt in Group 2 in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.
The Tigresses leaned on their rock-solid net defense behind Marivic Meneses and Jessey de Leon to neutralize the Lady Eagles’ hitters while high school sensation Ennajie Laure and Pam Lastimosa supplied the firepower as UST completed the one-hour, 21-minute victory to advance to the semis with a 2-0 card.
Laure came away with 16 hits while Lastimosa backed her up with 13 markers.
Meneses finished with 10 points, including five blocks, while de Leon had four blocks for an eight-point effort for the España-based squad, the winningest team in the league sponsored by Shakey’s with six championships.
UST wound up with 12 blocks as against Ateneo’s three as the Tigresses dealt the Lady Eagles their second loss in the quarters to finish with a 1-2 card.
“I keep telling my players that blocking will help us in this game and it did,” said UST mentor Odjie Mamon, whose wards held Ateneo No. 1 spiker Alyssa Valdez to 11 hits, way below her norm of 16 points.
Ateneo’s only hope to force a tie for the last semis seat is for Davao to drop its last match with Adamson tomorrow and for the Lady Falcons to lose to the Tigresses on Thursday.
Earlier, FEU drew strength from newly-acquired reinforcements Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga to win over the Lady Blazers and tie the Arellano Lady Chiefs at second at 1-1 in their side of the quarters of the league backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil.
The power-hitting pair of Daquis and Gonzaga, playing out of the Philippine Army, combined for 20 hits to help propel the Lady Tams to their first victory in the quarters in two outings counting their straight-set defeat to the National U Lady Bulldogs, the reigning champions, in the group stages.
“Their addition helped us big in this win,” said FEU coach Shaq delos Santos, referring to Daquis and Gonzaga, veterans of many V-League wars.
Bernadette Pons and Mary Remy Joy Palma actually led the Morayta-based squad’s charge with 17 and 12 hits, respectively, as the Lady Tams moved a win closer to clinching one of the two spots in the Final Four of the season-opening conference of the league.
With an able, tested pair of reinforcement, FEU goes for the second semis berth in Group 2 against Arellano U (1-1) tomorrow.
“Our next match against Arellano will determine who makes it to the semis so we’ll treat it as if it’s our last,” said delos Santos, whose wards pooled 47 kills, nearly doubling the Lady Blazers’ 26-attack effort.
The loss was the second for the Lady Blazers, who all but kissed their semis bid goodbye.
Jannine Navarro and skipper Therese Veronas combined for 22 hits but failed to draw support from the rest of the team with Jeanette Panaga and guest player Michelle Datuin producing just six and four markers, respectively.
Defending champion National U is a cinch to clinch the first semis spot in Group 2 with a 2-0 slate, including its 25-9, 25-14, 25-18 rout of Arellano U Lady Chiefs Thursday.
The Lady Bulldogs go for a quarters sweep against the Lady Blazers on Thursday.