Lady Eagles claw Falcons, NU crushes Perpetual in Shakey’s V-L opener
Reigning UAAP queens Ateneo Lady Eagles showcased their “heart-strong” attitude once more, turning back Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-19, 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, at the start of the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference before a big Sunday crowd at San Juan Arena.
Fresh from their historic triumph in the UAAP last week, the Lady Eagles put up one big fight and successfully overcame deficits in the three sets they won to notch victory no. 1 in the opening game witnessed by over 5,000 fans.
Skipper Alyssa Valdez spearheaded the assault of the Lady Eagles and punched in a game-high 23 points while Amy Ahomiro provided able support with 16 markers, including seven aces and four blocks, and Michelle Morente chipped in 14.
Guest players Pau Soriano and Thai Pacharee Sangmuang combined for 36 points to lead the way for the Lady Falcons, who actually forced the Ateneans to play catch-up most of the way in the initial match of the competitions sponsored by Shakey’s and organized by Sports Vision.
The Shakey’s V-League, backed by Mikasa, Accel and Akari, ushered in its 11th season with elaborate rites graced by San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, who represented Mayor Guia Gomez, and Shakey’s officials led by EVP and COO Vic Gregorio, and organizing Sports Vision president Ricky Palou and chair Moying Martelino.
After a split of the first two sets, the Lady Falcons threatened to take the fight out of the Lady Eagles when they seized a 15-9 lead in the pivotal third.
But with the crowd chanting “Go Ateneo, one big fight!” the Lady Eagles, led by Ahomiro who fired three consecutive aces, fought back hard, caught up with the Lady Falcons, and went on to steal the set.
The same never-say-die spirit came into fore for Ateneo again in the fourth set, where Adamson came charging and took a 18-14 cushion.
Valdez came to Ateneo’s rescue, scoring off the block and denying a kill by Soriano as the Lady Eagles turned the tables around and outdueled the Lady Falcons in a thrilling race to the finish.
With the count knotted at 24, Morente put Ateneo on the hill with a through-the-block attack afterwhich Ella de Jesus smashed in a kill from the left flank as Ateneo secured the win.
In the second game, National University Bulldogs started their title-retention bid on a fiery note as they crushed NCAA holders Perpetual in straight sets, 25-20, 25-14, 25-15.
Dindin Santiago scored 12 points while Myla Pablo added 10 and Jaja Santiago had nine as the Lady Bulldogs, out to redeem themselves after missing the finals of the last UAAP, disposed of the Lady Altas in 62 minutes.
Honey Rose Tubino struck for 16 markers but the rest of the Perpetual team couldn’t get much going against the tough defense of tall NU, with only 26 of their spikes getting past the Lady Bulldogs’ blockers.NU also had nine points off blocks against Perpetual’s one.(pr)