Lady Eagles master Dragons, stay in hunt

Army    2       0
SSC     2       0
Navy    1       2
Ateneo  1       1
Air Force       0       1
Maynilad        0       2

Games Tuesday
2 p.m. – Maynilad vs Air Force
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs SSC

Ateneo put its act together in the third and fourth sets and put away Maynilad, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22, 25-15, to wheel back into contention in the quarterfinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference before a big Sunday crowd at The Arena in San Juan.
Alyssa Valdez and Fille Cainglet combined for a whopping 51-hit output with the former unleashing 22 kills and the latter coming up with a solid 20-attack stint to help the Eagles snap an alarming five game-skid and into the thick of things.
With a 1-1 card, the first conference champions moved up to fourth while dropping the Water Dragons to 0-2 with the race to the semifinal round of the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza expected to heat up this week.
Valdez and Cainglet also made three blocks each and the rest backed them up with superb floor coverage and fluid set plays as the Eagles finally tasted victory since opening their campaign in the season-ending conference, backed by Accel, Mikasa and Maynilad Water, with back-to-back wins over Maynilad (July 31) and Perpetual Help (Aug. 2).
Ateneo highlighted its win with a big fightback in the third set as it rallied from 18-22 down by sweeping the next seven points while silencing the Water Dragons, who simply crumbled in the face of the Eagles mighty surge.
Ateneo also checked Maynilad’s top hitter Joy Cases, who averaged 14 hits before the match but managed to score just eight points.
Mervic Mangui topscored for Maynilad with 12 hits in a three-set stint while Syvie Artates and Beverly Boto chipped in 10 points apiece.
Maynilad tried to put up a fight in the fourth, which it led in the early going, but the Eagles reasserted their might to race to a 19-14 lead with Dzi Gervacio, Aerieal Patnongon and Gretchen Ho accounting for Ateneo’s next three points before a Maynilad error and Valdez’s last kill made a 10-point lead at 24-14.
Gervacio wound up with 11 points while Ho and Patnongon added six hits apiece for Ateneo, which outhit Maynilad, 54-41, behind that big surge in the last two frames. The Eagles also made 11 blocks and scored 11 points off the serve while the Water Dragons had just four in both departments.
Meanwhile, the Ateneo-Maynilad game will be shown today (Monday) starting at 2 p.m. on NBN 4 and on GMA-7’s international channels GMA Pinoy TV, GMA LifeTV and GMA News TV, according to the organizing Sports Vision.(pr)

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