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Sports

Lady Eagles nail semis berth; NU stays in hunt

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Manila, Philippines - Ateneo scuttled Perpetual Help, 25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-19, to clinch the first semis seat in Group A while National U revived its hopes for a first-ever Final Four stint in the Shakey’s V-League with a 25-17, 25-21, 25-17 victory over Southwestern U at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.

Guest player Alyssa Valdez scored 18 hits while Lithawat Kesinee overshadowed Jeng Bualee in a duel of Thai imports as the Lady Eagles remained unbeaten in the first conference with five wins, including four in the single round elims.

Kesinee backed Valdez with 17 points while Bualee settled for 14 hits for the Lady Altas, who finished with a 1-2 card in the quarters of the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.

“Alyssa (Valdez) is very consistent, she’s good and a lot of people are expecting she’s going to stay in top form all throughout. Her motivation is intrinsic. She is driven with her motivation,” said Ateneo rookie coach Charo Soriano.

Earlier, the Lady Bulldogs turned in an impressive all-around game to outhit the Lady Cobras, 37-26, while coming up with 10 blocks and the same number of service points against their rivals three blocks and five service aces, respectively.

The win also formalized University of St. La Salle-Bacolod’s stint in the Final Four with the idle Lady Stingers clinching the first berth with a 2-0 slate with one game left in the quarters.

Cherry Vivas came out of a long slump to fire 18 points, including 16 kills, while fellow guest player Denise Santiago added 14 hits for the Bulldogs, who also drew three blocks each from Maricar Nepomuceno and Rialen Sante.

The win thus evened NU’s card at 1-1 with a victory over Far Eastern U on Sunday ensuring the team of a Final Four appearance in the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel as official outfitter and Mikasa as official ball.

It was the second straight loss for SWU in the quarters as the Visayan team closed out its quarters campaign at 1-2.

Danika Gendrauli unloaded 13 hits for SWU but no other Cobra managed to score in double-figures with Princess Pido finishing with seven hits and guest player Erika Verano struggling for just four points.

Monique Tiangco backed up Vivas and Santiago with nine points, including three service aces, while skipper Rialen Sante and Nepomuceno added six points apiece for NU, which finished sixth in debut in last year’s second conference ruled by Adamson.

Meanwhile, Ateneo and Perpetual Help were disputing the first semis berth in Group A with the Lady Eagles, who swept the single round elims, slightly favored to prevail over the Lady Altas.

ALYSSA VALDEZ

ATENEO

ATENEO AND PERPETUAL HELP

CHARO SORIANO

CHERRY VIVAS

DANIKA GENDRAULI

DENISE SANTIAGO

FINAL FOUR

GROUP A

LADY ALTAS

LADY EAGLES

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