Ateneo de Manila University and Arellano University hurdled their respective rivals to preserve their unbeaten cards and keep a tight hold of the top spot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The reigning UAAP champions Lady Eagles notched their second straight win with a clinical dismantling of listless San Sebastian College, 25-17, 25-17, 25-8, in Group A.
Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro had the luxury of giving his young wards playing time in the 67-minute beat down of the Lady Stags.
Rookie Faith Nisperos got 15 points off 11 attacks and four aces while Ponggay Gaston, who skipped Ateneo’s opening game last week after feeling under the weather, debuted with 10 markers with all but one coming off spikes. Setter Jaja Maraguinot tallied 20 excellent sets to help the Lady Eagles nail 35 attacks and laced it up with seven points.
“Everything is a learning process pa rin. You just have to keep on learning and learning. We really have to maximize our players para mas lumalim ang cohesiveness namin,” said Almadro. “We know naman na our team is basically young, mostly are sophomores and freshmen so kailangan naming magkaroon talaga ng tiwala sa isa’t isa. Talagang every game and every practices are a learning day for us.”
Ateneo punished SSC-R from the service line, landing 11 aces and frustrated the Lady Stags with tight net defense that the Lady Eagles converted to four kill blocks while limiting their rivals attack points to only 13.
Sherielyn Bigata finished with five points while skipper Mary Rhose Dapol got four for SSC-R, which dropped to 0-2 slate.
In the other Group A result, Adamson University joined Ateneo at the top after blasting University of Perpetual Help, 25-20, 25-19, 25-13, with Trisha Genesis and rookie setter Louie Romero leading the way.
Genesis scored 15 points highlighted by 14 kills on top of four excellent receptions while Lorence Toring got eight markers for the Lady Falcons.
The Lady Altas, who were led by Jenny Gaviola and Jhon Rosal with seven markers each, dropped to 1-1 slate.
Meanwhile, the short-handed three-time NCAA champions Lady Chiefs crushed Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-23, 12-25, 25-21, 25-21, for back-to-back wins in Group B.
The injury bug bit Arellano U hard as the Lady Chiefs played sans top hitter Regine Arocha (ankle injury), Carla Donato (hand injury), Jehan Hussain (knee injury) and backup setter Donnalyn Paralejas (allergy).
Reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Necole Ebuen carried the ailing Arellano U on her back with 22 points with all but one coming off attacks while adding seven digs for an all-around effort. Risa Joy Batindaan had nine markers while setter Sarah Verutiao dished out 26 excellent sets on top of four points for the Lady Chiefs.
“Kung titingnan natin ‘yung team ko talagang struggle ngayon e. Bawas ako ng player e, apat yung nawala ngayon due to injury,” said Arellano U coach Obet Javier. “’Yung pwesto namin ngayon hindi namin na-practice e so tiningnan ko lang kung anong nangyari.”
“Pero maganda na rin kahit papaano, nakita na rin yung mga bago kung nasaan na talaga yung laro nila ngayon,” he added. “Marami pa rin dapat na i-improve sa amin especially ang hirap na iisa lang ang setter mo ngayon.”
Arellano U recovered from a second set meltdown to hand the Lady Pirates their second loss in as many games.
Ciamelle Wanta led LPU with 14 markers while Joan Doguna got 11 for LPU.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.