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Ateneo stays unscathed after beating UP

By Dugout Philippines

SAN JUAN, MM--Defending champion Ateneo pounced on University of the Philippines' erratic game to pound out a 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 victory and solidified its hold of the top spot in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The Lady Eagles needed only 77 minutes to repulse the Lady Maroons to stretch their winning run to four games and 22 overall since March 2014.

Earlier, National University overpowered University of the East, 25-12, 25-13, 25-16, to rejoin De La Salle in second place at 3-1.

Two-time MVP Alyssa Valdez came through with 13 points and four digs to lead Ateneo.

Middle hitters Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag finished with a combined 23 hits.

"It shows yung hard training ni coach Tai [Bundit] sa mga middles. It's a good sign na nagkakaroon kami ng good receive and communication para magkaroon ng magandang flow inside the court," said Valdez.

In the men's division, reigning two-time MVP Marck Espejo fired a career-high 35 hits as titleholder Ateneo outlasted De La Salle, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-10, while Dave Pletado and Michael Sudaria combined for 32 points to help Adamson University beat Far Eastern University, 30-28, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19.

The Blue Eagles and the Falcons, who were locked in a five-way tie in first place before the games, improved to 3-1, while the Tamaraws and the Green Spikers dropped to 2-2 and 1-2 slates, respectively.

"Nagiging exciting ang men's volleyball, hindi lang women's, balanced ang UAAP. Any team can beat any team. La Salle is a very good team," said coach Oliver Almadro after Ateneo bounced back from last Wednesday's narrow loss to Adamson.

Diana Carlos had three blocks for a 16-point effort while Isa Molde added nine hits for UP, which fell in a tie with Adamson in fifth spot at 1-2.

The Lady Bulldogs were in business-like mode, carrying the momentum of their four-set win against the fancied Lady Spikers last Wednesday.

"And tinitignan ko eh young laro namin kung nag-iimprove na ba yung fluidity ng team. Soon ako concerned," said NU coach Roger Gorayeb.

Jaja Santiago had 11 hits for the Lady Bulldogs while Myla Pablo chipped in nine hits and two digs.

Seth Domingo and Shaya Adorador combined for 10 points for the Lady Warriors.

UE remained winless in three contests alongside University of Santo Tomas at the bottom of the standings.

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