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Ateneo pips UE ahead of big-time clash with La Salle

By Dugout Philippines

SAN JUAN, MM--In a lull before this weekend's much-anticipated clash with fierce rival De La Salle, titleholder Ateneo overwhelmed University of the East, 25-12, 25-10, 25-10, to move closer in completing a first round sweep in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

Jho Maraguinot paced the Lady Eagles with 12 points, Alyssa Valdez had 10 hits and five digs, playmaker Jia Morado tossed in 27 excellent sets and scored six points, while libero Jamie Lavitoria collected 11 digs.

"Everyone played well. For sure, coach Tai (Bundit), I hope, is so happy," said Valdez after the 64-minute clash.

Ateneo improved to 6-0 this season and have won 24 straight matches dating back from March 2014, the fourth current longest streak in any sport in the league.

Only Adamson softball (71), National University men's lawn tennis (43) and women's basketball (32) have the longest than the reigning two-time champions.

The protagonists of the last four championships, the Lady Eagles and the Lady Spikers will face off for the first time this season on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Playing with sense of urgency, Adamson University hacked out a 21-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-10 victory over Far Eastern University and arrest a four-game slide.

Rookie May Roque came through with a career-high 23 points, including three service aces, while Jema Galanza chipped in 16 points and nine digs as the Lady Falcons booked their second win in six matches in seventh spot.

"Yung nga (slow start) ang nagiging problema namin sa mga previous games namin. Pero yung mga napag-usapan namin eh maglaro lang ng tama, makakabawi at makakabawi din," said Adamson coach Sherwin Meneses. "Importante yung pagkapanalo namin kasi magkaka-dikit dikit na ulit ang standings."

Mylene Paat hit all of her three service aces in the Lady Falcons' stirring 10-2 start in the fifth set.

The Lady Tamaraws were able to cut down the deficit to 10-14 before a reception error did the Morayta-based spikers in.

It was a double celebration for Adamson, as its men's squad extended its winning run to five with a narrow 25-18, 25-23, 18-25, 18-15, 15-13 victory over University of the Philippines.

"Bumitaw kami sa receiving at sa blocks sa third, fourth and even this fifth set," said coach Domingo Custodio, whose Falcons only escaped after Bryan Saraza nailed the match-clinching off-the-block kill.

Jerome Sarmiento had 19 hits, including four service aces, while Bryan Saraza tossed in 18 points.

Titleholder Ateneo joined Adamson in first place at 5-1 with an easy 25-16, 25-18. 25-14 victory over UE, with reigning MVP Marck Espejo leading the way with 13 points.

Bernadeth Pons came through with 25 hits, including six service aces, while Toni Rose Basas added 20 points, including two blocks, and 10 digs for FEU.

The Lady Tamaraws failed to follow up their five-set conquest of the Lady Maroons, as they dropped to 3-3 in fourth place.

It was a sorry loss for FEU, which was two points away from match point, 23-22, on a Pons kill from a ball touch in the fourth set, but Adamson stormed back by scoring three straight points to send the match to a decider.

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