Lady Eagles open Season 79 with straight set victory over the Golden Tigresses
THE ATENEO Lady Eagles opened Season 79 of the University of Athletics Association (UAAP) with a straight set victory over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses on Saturday, February 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao City.
This win puts the Lady Eagles at a 1-0 standing in the first elimination round.
This season saw Maddie Madayag returning to the court after missed last season due to ACL injury during the second round of Season 77. Kat Tolentino, who finally made her long-awaited debut after two ACL tears, also saw action today as a starting outside hitter.
The Lady Eagles opened the season on strong note— going on a 3-0 run before a spike from Rondina gave UST their first point. Ateneo, then, found themselves leading until an ace from Marivic Meneses tied the game at 13-all. However, numerous points from debutant Kat Tolentino saw the first set go to the Blue and White (25-20).
The Golden Tigresses told a tale similar to that of Ateneo in the previous set, going on a 3-0 run before a spike from Maraguinot gifted the Lady Eagles with their first point. Ateneo’s improved floor defense eventually translated into offense, as Ateneo entered the first technical timeout with a two-point cushion (8-6). UST, however, would soon tie the set at 9-all. Soon after, De Leon’s blocking, along with some attacks from Morente and Maraguinot, would then see the Lady Eagles break free from the stalemate, as the Lady Eagles took the second set, 25-21
Now on the verge of defeat, the Tigresses fueld the game with ferocious striking that would see them enter the first technical timeout with a one-point advantage (8-7). However, Ateneo’s vastly improved floor defense soon went on display with the courtesy of some excellent blocks and saves from De Leon, Madayag, and Tan. The Blue and White would enter the second technical timeout with a two-point lead (16-14). As the Lady Eagles inched towards to finishing the game, a UST service error would see the match fall to hands of the Lady Eagles.
Team Captain Jia Morado spoke highly about the performances shown by Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag. “They’ve been working really hard in training and it showed in this game. Kat was initially hesitant, as she was coming off an injury, but luckily she and Maddie delivered.” said Morado.
The Ateneo Lady Eagles will square off against National University (NU) on Wednesday, February 8, at the Fil Oil Arena in San Juan City at 4PM.
Ateneo: Maraguinot- 15, Morente- 9, Tolentino- 8, De Leon- 7, Morado- 5, Madayag- 5, Gequillana- 1
UST: Laure- 17, Rondina- 10, Cortez- 4, Lastimosa- 3, Meneses- 3, Viray- 2, Sandoval- 2, Bicar- 2, Palec- 1