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Ateneo repeats mastery of Lady Spikers, gain no.1 in Final Four

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Freshman Jules Samonte was given a massive break by Coach Tai, and the Zobel standout made the most out of it against La Salle as Ateneo ends the eliminations as number 1.
By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY -- Ateneo fought back from a set down, turning back De La Salle, 12-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, to clinch the top seed in the semifinals in the final game of the elimination round of the UAAP Season LXXIX women’s volleyball competitions at the jam-packed Big Dome Saturday. 

Behind a sell-out 18,612 crowd, the Lady Eagles outplayed the defending champions behind balanced scoring and a breakout performance from freshman Jules Samonte to set up a clash with fourth-seeded Far Eastern University.

Junior Michelle Morente both scored 14 points on 12 attacks, 15 excellent digs, and 17 receptions along with fellow junior Bea De Leon who also had 14 on nine kills.

Samonte cashed in 10 points, picking up the slack for Jhoan Maraguinot, who was opted to be rested for the second straight game.

“Malaking achievement din sa team tsaka ‘yung performance nila sa elimination maganda para pagdating ng semis mataas ‘yung morale (nila),” said Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses.

Meneses also lauded the effort of the rookie Samonte, who he describes as the most hardworking player on the roster.

“'Yung posisyon ni Jho napunan ni Jules, so parang parehas lang din yung first six kaso wala si Jho," he later added.

Team captain Jia Morado accounted for all of Ateneo’s 34 excellent sets.

Kim Dy topscored for 15 points for DLSU, who will face No.3 University of Santo Tomas in the next round, while Desiree Cheng had 13.

Majoy Baron and Ernestine Tiamzon were the other DLSU double-scorers with a combined 21-point effort.

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