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Valdez powers Ateneo to sweep of UAAP volley elims

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2015 - 8:08pm

Games Saturday:

(Filoil Flying V Arena)

2 p.m. – UE vs UST (women’s)

4 p.m. – AdU vs FEU (women’s)

MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez punched in 29 points and Jhoanna Maraguinot played the heroine's role in the crucial stretch as Ateneo nipped La Salle, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 27-25, to sweep the UAAP Season 77 women's volleyball elims before a big Wednesday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 14-0 record sent the Lady Eagles straight into the finals, where they will enjoy thrice-to-beat advantage.

The Lady Spikers finished the elims with 12-2 for No. 2 in the stepladder semis.

"It's an achievement for the team and the Ateneo but then the challenge for us is how to maintain our game for the finals," Valdez said after Ateneo authored its first ever sweep of women's volleyball before 13,345 fans.

Valdez delivered as usual all game, scoring on 24 hits with three aces and two blocks, but yielded the floor to Maraguinot when it was winning time.

Maraguinot, who finished with 10 points, pushed the dagger to the heart of DLSU by scoring back-to-back hits from opposite flanks from a 25-25 standoff in the fourth.

The first year player from Lipa City also helped the Lady Eagles get on the hill in the third set with a pivotal hit, 24-22. A service error by Bea De Leon gave DLSU a lifeline but a similar fumble on the service area by Mika Reyes handed ADMU the set and a 2-1 cushion.

"Hat's off to Jhoanna and also everyone in the team, everyone contributed in every aspect, not just scoring," said Valdez.

De Leon backstopped Valdez will 11 while Ella de Jesus added eight.

Ara Galang paced DLSU with 20 markers with Reyes the next top scorer with eight.

Earlier, National University rode on Jaja Santiago’s 25-point explosion to beat Adamson, 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19, and clinch a semis berth.

Santiago had 18 kills and six blocks, to power the Lady Bulldogs to their seventh win in 13 games and assured themselves of No. 3 position with a game to spare in their elims slate.

Rizza Mandapat added 12 points, doing the most damage in the fourth where she teamed up with the 6-foot-4 Santiago in breaking out of a 7-7 standoff en route to the win.

Far Eastern U kept its semis hopes alive by turning back University of the Philippines,19-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19, to improve to 5-8 and create a four-way tie for fourth with their victims, the Lady Falcons and idle Santo Tomas.

ALYSSA VALDEZ ARA GALANG ATENEO BEA DE LEON DE LEON FAR EASTERN U FILOIL FLYING V ARENA GAMES SATURDAY JAJA SANTIAGO LADY EAGLES VALDEZ
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