by Kristel Satumbaga
Game Saturday (Mall of Asia Arena)
3:30 p.m. – Ateneo vs UST
Ateneo breathed life in its UAAP women’s volleyball title bid on Wednesday after besting University of Santo Tomas, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, in Game 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Lady Eagles rose from a second-set stumble and dominated the next two frames in all fronts to extend the best-of-three series into a deciding match 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 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.
Libero Dani Ravena also stepped up in the crunch with 22 digs and 12 receptions as the Lady Eagles found a way to stop the Tigresses’ hard-hitting kills.
De Leon said the team learned to adjust quickly from that Game 1 defeat by starting out strong and keeping their firepower when the opportunity strikes.
“It’s a good thing that we’ve been here before, in this situation. You learn to adjust quickly and learn from your mistakes,” said De Leon, who is in her last playing year.
Ateneo had that opportunity to regroup at the start of the third frame after catching UST off guard following the temporary exit of Rookie of the Year Eya Laure from spraining her left ankle.
Laure returned late in the set, but the Lady Eagles have already found their fiery touch, taking it to the fourth with a quick 12-5 lead for good.
Laure finished with 10 points while Season Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina, who played before her family at the audience, scored 22 points in futile efforts.
Overall, Ateneo outplayed UST in attacks (41-37), blocks (8-6) and service aces (11-10).