by Kristel Satumbaga
Game Saturday (Mall of Asia Arena)
3:30 p.m. – Ateneo vs UST
Ateneo breathed life into its UAAP women’s volleyball title bid after besting University of Santo Tomas, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, in Game 2 of their best-of-three series yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Before a huge crowd, the Lady Eagles recovered from a second-set stumble and dominated the next two frames to prevail and extend the series to full route on Saturday at the same venue.
Maddie Madayag sizzled with 17 points built on 10 kills, four blocks and three aces as Ateneo recovered from a shocking 25-17, 25-16, 25-20 Game 1 loss last week.
Bea de Leon chipped in 13 points including 10 from attacks while Kat Tolentino added 11 points.
What hurt UST’s sweep bid was when Rookie of the Year winner Eya Laure suffered a left ankle injury following an awkward landing early in the third set.
She returned late in that frame but the Lady Eagles had already found their fiery touch, taking it to the fourth with a quick 12-5 lead for good.
Laure finished with 10 points while Most Valuable Player winner Sisi Rondina, who had family members watching, scored 22 points in futile efforts.
Meantime, National University bucked an opening set defeat to beat Far Eastern University, 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19, and complete a two-game sweep of the men’s championship.
Up against a team with the most number of titles in the league – with 25 – the Bulldogs, led by MVP winner Bryan Bagunas, had their offensive firepower on full display to win their fourth title in six years confirming their status as newest power in the men’s side.
Bagunas exploded for a career-high 35 points capped by a thunderous crosscourt spike that sealed the win for the Bulldogs.