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UAAP: Ateneo bags back-to-back championships, depleted Lady Spikers finish second

The UAAP Season 77 Women’s Volleyball tournament has finally come to an end as the ADMU Lady Eagles won their second straight championship against the DLSU Lady Spikers in straight sets, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23, last March 14 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The back-to-back champions were led by team captain Alyssa Valdez with 20 points. Prior to the match, she was also hailed this season’s Best Scorer, Best Server, and Most Valuable Player. Sophomore Michelle Morente, rookie Bea de Leon, and veteran Amy Ahomiro also played key roles in the win with 10 points each. Ahomiro was declared as the Finals MVP.

On the other hand, Mary Joy Baron took the charge for the Lady Spikers with nine points while Mika Reyes added eight points of her own.

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The first set was a close one between the two squads as they produced good attacks but were unable to control their errors. The Lady Spikers were the early leaders in the set courtesy of their blocking and the efforts of Eli Soyud. However, the Lady Eagles found their momentum and scored six straight points to take a four point lead, 23-19. Ateneo committed two straight errors and Soyud made an attack to cut the deficit to one, 23-22. The Lady Eagles avoided a late game collapse and scored two straight points to take the set, 25-22.

The second set favored the Katipunan-based squad as Bea De Leon hit three straight attacks to give Ateneo a six point lead, 14-8. The Lady Eagles managed to extend their lead to eight, 18-10, but the Lady Spikers took one point at a time to cut the lead to four, 20-16. Ateneo’s 5-1 run quickly ended the set, 25-17.

The Lady Spikers showed no signs of giving up as they took their biggest lead of the match behind Carol Cerveza’s back-to-back service aces, 10-5. However, the Lady Eagles woke up and took over the lead, 17-14. La Salle tried to catch up to cut Ateneo’s lead to one, 23-22, as Baron blocked Valdez. Sophomore and season Best Setter Jia Morado scored at the second touch to give Ateneo championship point, 24-22. Ahomiro committed a service error in the following play but Morado was unstoppable in the front line and scored once again in the second touch to hand the Lady Eagles another championship, 25-23.

With today’s win, Ateneo finished the season undefeated with a 16-game winning streak. On the other hand, the Lady Spikers haven’t won against Ateneo since Game Three of last season’s finals, extending their losing streak to their archrivals to six.

The Lady Spikers did not take home any individual award while Ateneo’s Denden Lazaro took the Best Receiver Award apart from the individual awards of Valdez, Morado, and Ahomiro.

Maria Teresa de Borja

By Maria Teresa de Borja

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