Ateneo recovered from a fumbling third set with a gritty stand in the fourth to hold off a tough Adamson side, 25-22, 25-14, 20-25, 25-22, and clinch the first semifinal berth in the ninth Shakey’s V-League Presented by SMART at The Arena in San Juan.
Alyssa Valdez and Thai import Phee Nok Kesinee fired 19 hits apiece while three others put in double-digit scores to power the defending champion Lady Eagles to a 5-0 mark and a spot in the final four of the event sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
Dzi Gervacio added 13 points while Fille Cainglet and Gretchen Ho chipped in 10 points apiece for Ateneo, which fashioned out the victory in 97 minutes.
Adamson’s guest player Nene Bautista topscored with 18 points, highlighted with 15 kills, while Sheila Pineda tossed in 13 points with two service aces. Pau Soriano added scored 12 points and Faye Guevara added 11 points for the Lady Falcons, who kept it close in the fourth but fell short in the end. They dropped to 1-4 and are now in danger of missing the semis of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Earlier, University of St. La Salle held National U to just two hits in the decider to hack out a come-from-behind 25-12, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-2 victory and keep its slim semifinal hopes alive.
Patty Orendain scored nine hits in the fifth set, including three service aces, while Royce Quijano came away with three blocks for the Lady Stingers, who dished out a solid start but faltered in the next two sets before scrambling for a win in the fourth and dominating the decider.
It was USLS’ first win in five games in the carryover quarterfinal phase and the Lady Stingers must sweep their last two games and hope that either Perpetual Help or San Sebastian won’t win more than three to force a playoff for the last spot.
Orendain went on to fire 25 kills and two blocks for a whopping 30-point performance while Quijano finished with seven blocks for a 13-hit production.
“We struggled with our reception in the second and third sets as (Din-Din) Santiago attacked in varied directions,” said USLS coach Roger Banzuela. “But we were able to adjust in the fourth as I put Jovelyn (Gonzaga) in utility and Royce (Quijano) in front.”
Santiago, NU’s hard-hitting reinforcement, shot 19 kills and had four services aces to lead the team with 25 points while skipper Maricar Nepomuceno and Myla Pablo added 16 and 15 markers, respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 0-4.
The Lady Stingers came out smoking in the decider, winning the first five points as Quijano foiled three consecutive returns from Santiago. Orendain then took charge in offense, landing five consecutive service aces to put USLS unassailably ahead at 14-2. Sheryl Denila closed out the match with a spike to Santiago.
NU looked headed for a win after surging ahead at 19-18 and with a 2-1 set advantage. But USLS countered with a 6-0 run and grabbed a 24-19 lead before Orendain thwarted the Bulldogs rally with a smash against Ivy Perez.
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