MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Ateneo de Manila University recovered from a blip in the second set to overpower University of the East (UE), 25-14, 20-25, 25-11, 25-14, and reach the .500 mark in the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament.
The Blue Eagles made it three straight wins on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena and now have a 3-3 win-loss record, finding their form after a slow start to their campaign. The Lady Warriors, meanwhile, fell to 0-6 in the season.
Faith Nisperos shook off a lethargic start to finish with 19 points on 15 kills and three aces, while Vanie Gandler had 16 points and 12 digs. The Blue Eagles had a 10-1 lead in blocks and an 11-2 advantage on their serve.
"We just want to do better every game," Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro said of his squad. "We're happy na nanalo kami, kahit four sets [but] we really have to improve every game."
The Blue Eagles won comfortably in the first set but struggled to deal with UE's Ercae Nieva in the second. Nieva repeatedly fired down the Ateneo sideline for points, including the hit that made it 23-18 for the Lady Warriors.
Back-to-back kills by Nisperos and Gandler kept Ateneo alive, but Nieva scored off the Blue Eagles' block before an error gave UE the second set. The Lady Warriors scored 13 of their 33 kills in Set 2.
"We know naman for a fact na lumalaban talaga sila and 'pag 'di mo babantayan ang counter-attack nila, they will really hit on you, like what happened in the second set," Almadro said of UE.
The Blue Eagles regrouped in the third frame, where they pulled away for a massive 20-7 advantage and didn't give the Lady Warriors a chance to respond. Ateneo was in complete control from there, and their big lead in the fourth set allowed Almadro to send his reserves.
UE drew 13 points from Ja Lana, but she had to be helped off the court in the fourth set after an awkward landing. It was another blow to the Lady Warriors, who are already missing the services of Apple Lingay.
Nieva finished with 12 points in the loss.