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UAAP 81 volleyball: Lady Eagles stay alive, force rubber match with Tigresses

Bea De Leon (#14) and the rest of the Ateneo Lady Eagles is still alive in the UAAP women's volleyball finals after Wednesday's Game 2 win. Dugout Philippines/Jade Moya
By Ricky Manliguis

PASAY CITY—Ateneo’s season is not yet over.

Recovering from a tentative start, the Lady Eagles forced a winner-take-all game with a 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15 win over University of Santo Tomas in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball finals Wednesday at the Mall Of Asia Arena.

With backs against the wall, the Katipunan-based spikers banked on its defense anew while pouncing on the absence of UST rookie Eya Laure to even up the series and set up a do-or-die Game 3 on Saturday.

The win also snapped the Golden Tigresses’ nine-game winning spanning the second round of eliminations.

Maddie Madayag produced 17 points spiked on 10 attacks, while fellow graduating skipper Bea De Leon also had 10 kills for 13 markers. Kat Tolentino then chipped in 11 for Ateneo, which took advantage of UST’s 30 unforced errors.

Dani Ravena was the anchor of defense for the blue side, providing 22 of the team’s 57 excellent digs along with 12 receptions.

“Of course, pumapasok talaga sa isip namin na it might be our last game, but kino-cross out namin,” said Madayag, later hailed as the 2nd best Blocker of the league.

“Lalaban talaga kami, we won't go down without a fight.”

UST got a scare in the third set as Rookie of the Year awardee Laure went down with an apparent left knee sprain. She had to be carried off to the locker room by her father Eddie Laure and coach Kungfu Reyes for treatment.

From then on, Ateneo went on a tear. Laure returned late in the third set, but it was too late.

The Lady Eagles went on a 13-5 salvo in the fourth set and even led 20-8 on De Leon’s hit. UST managed to rally for a 13-24 deficit, but rookie KC Galdones committed a service error for the final point.

Newly-minted MVP Sisi Rondina paced UST with 22 points on 18 kills, with Laure pumping 10. Ysa Jimenez had nine markers on five service aces. 

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