Sophomore setter Jaja Maraguinot utilized the deep arsenal of Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday as the Lady Eagles silenced San Beda University, 25-15, 24-26, 25-5, 25-20, to inch closer to a semifinals spot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Maraguinot orchestrated the fluid offensive flow of the reigning UAAP champions where five players finished in double figures for the now 3-0 Lady Eagles. The playmaker tallied 33 excellent sets to help Ateneo nail 51 attack points.
Vannie Gandler led the Lady Eagles with 15 points including 14 off kills. Erika Raagas had 14 markers in three sets of action, Faith Nisperos contributed 13 points, 16 digs and seven excellent receptions while Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte had 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for Ateneo, which yielded the second set and got a scare midway in the fourth before pulling away for good.
Even with the win, Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro felt that his team is still a work in progress in terms of maturity and leadership.
“We are still a young team looking for that spark and leadership every game, every set,” said Almadro, whose squad can clinch a semis spot with a win over Adamson University next week. “So I hope naman in time makukuha na nila ang leadership, ang tamang confidence. Yung mindset na pagtayo sa loob ng court ay dapat aggressive and always aiming at what is above.”
After letting the second set slip away, the Lady Eagles blitzed the Lady Red Spikers in the third for the conference’s biggest winning margin in a set since Arellano University’s 25-12, 25-7, 25-13, victory over TIP in Group B.
Ateneo saw a 16-11 fourth set lead chopped down to only 17-16 after a scary run by San Beda before the Lady Eagles behind Gandler and Nisperos sparked a closing 8-4 rally.
The Lady Red Spikers dropped to 1-2 card.
League-leading scorer Cesca Racraquin was limited to only 12 points in 8-of-47 attacking clip while Kyla Dioso and Kimberly Manzano got nine and eight points, respectively, for San Beda.
In Group B, Far Eastern University collected its second straight win at the expense of the erstwhile unbeaten NCAA champion Arellano University, 25-13, 22-25, 25-22, 25-10, for a three-way tie at 2-1 slate with its victim and College of St. Benilde.
Rookie Shiela Kiseo made her presence felt with an inspired game as the former Baby Tamaraw pounded 13 attacks with an ace and a kill block for 15 points while adding 14 digs in an all-around performance for FEU, which started its campaign on a sour note after losing to the Lady Blazers in straight sets before a two-game romp.
“So far so good kasi malaking confidence boost kasi Arellano tinalo nila. Siyempre, knowing Arellano, champion team 'yan. At the same time, 'yung chemistry, kahit papaano, na-achieve na,” said FEU coach George Pascua.
Ivana Agudo added 12 markers while middles Czarina Carandang and Jeanette Villareal got nine points each for the Lady Tamaraws, who will face the Tigresses next week.
Reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Necole Ebuen led the Lady Chiefs with 15 points while Nicole Sasuman scored 12.
Meanwhile, CSB returned to the win column after blasting Lyceum of the Philippines University, 25-19, 25-12, 25-17, in Group B.
The Lady Blazers needed only 73 minutes to dispose the winless Lady Pirates and notch their second win in three outings a week after suffering a sorry 5-set loss to University of Sto. Tomas.
Klarisa Abriam led CSB’s balance scoring with 12 points while Michelle Gamit and Gayle Pascual finished with nine and eight markers, respectively.
The Lady Pirates bowed down for the third straight time and kissed their semifinals bid goodbye. Mary Joy Onofre and Joan Doguna led LPU with eight markers each.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.