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Ateneo seals top seed with five-set romp against La Salle

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Ateneo locked the number one spot in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament after subduing La Salle in a full-length thriller, 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 15-5, at the jam-packed Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

The Lady Eagles bounced back from their first loss of the season against the Lady Spikers by handing them a rout in the final set to secure the top seed with a 12-2 record.

Ateneo actually had a chance to win it in Set 4 after recovering from an opening canto defeat through late explosions in Sets 2 and 3 but made up for the failed try by opening an early huge lead in the decider that La Salle found too hard to overhaul.

The Lady Spikers started the match red-hot, going up, 16-7, in Set 1 before holding off a late Lady Eagles rally to take it.

Ateneo had another late run in the second, but it proved to be timely this time as the team stole the set.

The Lady Eagles then turned a 4-8 deficit in Set 3 to a rout to inch closer to the match victory.

But the Lady Spikers regrouped late in Set 4 to force Set 5.

They, however, started the final frame flat, conceding a 2-11 deficit and never recovered.

Alyssa Valdez scorched for 24 points on 20 spikes, three aces, and one block for Ateneo, which will face either UP, which won over UST earlier Sunday, or NU in the semifinals.

Ara Galang tallied 20 markers for La Salle, which slipped to the second seed and will take on FEU in the other Final Four pairing.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno