UAAP: Ateneo downs Adamson for 5th straight win

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2019 04:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2019 04:52 PM

UAAP: Ateneo downs Adamson for 5th straight win 1
Maddie Madayag (7) and the Ateneo Lady Eagles are now 5-1 in Season 81. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Ateneo de Manila University bucked a subpar second set to defeat Adamson University and secure its fifth straight win in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.

With Bea de Leon playing her finest game of the season, the Lady Eagles claimed a 25-8, 22-25, 25-16, 25-10 triumph over the Lady Falcons on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

It was Ateneo's fifth straight win since a season-opening loss to defending champion De La Salle University, hiking their record to 5-1. 

Ponggay Gaston finished with a career-high 16 points on 10 attacks and 6 aces, while Kat Tolentino scored 15 points on 10 kills and 4 blocks. De Leon had a season-high 14 points, including 4 kill blocks and 4 aces. The Lady Eagles also got 35 free points off Adamson's errors.

"We didn't want to be out of focus coming into the game," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro, whose squad was coming off an impressive sweep of University of the Philippines in the Battle of Katipunan just last Sunday. 

"Sobrang kaunti lang ng pahinga namin, so we really had to work hard right away. I really admire my players for their sacrifices and their hard work," he added.

After cruising to a comfortable win in the opening set, the Lady Eagles sputtered in the second frame, particularly on offense as they converted just eight of their spike attempts. They still had a 17-15 lead after a service error from Adamson's Lea Perez, but the Lady Falcons outplayed them the rest of the way.

A block by Joy Dacoron on Gaston, and an illegal attack committed by Jaja Maraguinot pushed Adamson ahead, 20-18, and they nursed that lead all the way through. The Lady Falcons reached set point, 24-21, off an Eli Soyud block on Deanna Wong, though a mishit by Bern Flora kept Ateneo alive. Chiara Permentilla came through with a tough attack, however, to put the Lady Falcons on the board.

"Hindi madaling kalaban ang Adamson," stressed Almadro. "Beterano si Dacoron, beterano si Flora. Sabi ko sa kanila, after we lost the second set, you are challenged, so accept the challenge."

"Luckily, 'yung resiliency ng players ko, nag-pay off," he added.

De Leon ensured that Ateneo got off to a strong start in the third set, firing off a couple of quick kills while also coming up with huge blocks on Permentilla and Soyud to power the Lady Eagles to an 8-2 start.

They were barely threatened from there, as Adamson notched just five kills in the set. Ateneo also punished them from the service line, with 5 aces. The fourth frame was even more lopsided, with the Lady Eagles scoring the final nine points of the match to claim the win in an hour and 43 minutes.

"(Adamson) tested us… It was a blessing that we won today," said Gaston.

The Lady Eagles had just a 39-31 lead on kills, and an 8-5 lead on blocks. But they peppered Adamson with 15 service aces, while only giving up 5 on their own end. Kim Gequillana was solid, with 24 digs and 22 excellent receptions.

Soyud led Adamson with 13 points, while Permentilla and Flora each scored 9 points. Libero Thang Ponce finished with a whopping 45 digs on top of 16 receptions, but their efforts were not enough as the Lady Falcons absorbed their second straight loss.

Adamson dropped to 1-5 in the season, tied with idle University of the East at the bottom of the league standings. 

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