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Ateneo shackles UST to stay unbeaten

By Emy Manipol

SAN JUAN, MM--Coming off an impressive 30 point game outing for UST’s energy bunny, Cherry Rondina together with Sophomore Team Captain EJ Laure came short of upsetting the Alyssa Valdez-led ADMU.

University of Sto Tomas remained winless as Ateneo De Manila University displayed championship composure after dropping a set to win in four, 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15, at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday.

UST managed to keep in step with Ateneo's offense for the first two sets. Rondina scored from all angles that allowed the Golden Tigresses to trade points with the Lady Eagles.

During the first set, Ateneo managed to build on an early lead 6-3 before UST made a run to arrive at the first technical timeout up, 8-7, courtesy of the strong serves of Joyce Bicar.

After Bea De Leon's block point, both squads’ momentum swung back and forth till ADMU established a late set lead of 23-21.

Rondina scored a point to inch closer to Ateneo’s lead, but a service Ace of Maddie Madayag sealed the set for the defending champs- 25-22.

Ateneo came to the second set sharper as they jumped into the UST’s defense early on. The team led by as much as six, 16-10.

UST tried to chop down the lead but fell short as Ateneo’s lead was too much for the squad to overhaul.

With their backs against the wall, the Tigresses played inspired volleyball that caught the Lady Eagles off guard.

The surprise started with Coach Kung Fu’s unorthodox service instructions to his squad that made it difficult for Ateneo to receive the first ball.

The EspaƱa-based team had the driver’s seat against the Katipunan-based squad all throughout the third set to steal one set, 25-21.

After dropping their first set of the season, the Lady Eagles were challenged to not let UST mount a comeback.

They received better that constituted to better offense and eventually closed out the match.

Alyssa Valdez again topped scored for the Lady Eagles with game-high 23 points, while Cherry Rondina tallied 21 points to lead the scoring for UST.

Follow her on Twitter: @emymanipol