Ateneo, Benilde flex muscles

Ateneo de Manila University flexed its muscles early, ripping San Sebastian College, 25-19, 25-19, 25-14, to post a rousing start to its V-League Women’s Collegiate Challenge campaign on Wednesday, 19 October at the Paco Arena in Manila.

Faith Nisperos made her presence felt, firing 11 attacks, six aces and a block to finish with 18 points despite sitting out in the second set of the match that took only 78 minutes to complete.

Meanwhile, College of Saint Benilde, drawing 15 points from Jade Gentapa, put its act together in the third set then out-steadied University of Santo Tomas in an extended fourth set skirmish to pound out a 25-17, 18-25, 25-19, 27-25 squeaker in Pool B action.

Gentapa peppered UST’s defense with 14 attack points while Mycah Go put up a sterling 13-point, 11-excellent reception and 10-excellent dig performance to help power the reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association champions to the hard-earned victory.

“We made some adjustments in the third set. We tried out some combinations and they responded,” Saint Benilde coach Jerry Yee, who also drew nine and six points from Gayle Pascula and Clydel Catarig, respectively, said.

The Tigresses actually appeared headed to forcing a decider after leading by four in the fourth but Go and Chenae Basarte combined for four straight points to tie the game at 22 before Angeli Abellano put UST back on top in the ensuing play.

Catarig, however, scored an off-the-block hit then the Lady Blazers foiled their rivals’ 1-2 play to get to match point but the Tigresses tied the match again then traded hits before Gentapa scored on a combo play to put CSB back on top and Michelle Gamit stymied Imee Hernandez’s attack with a block.

Vanie Gandler chipped in 14 points while Lyann de Guzman and Joan Narit added 10 and eight markers, respectively, for Ateneo, which is set to face University Athletic Association of the Philippines rival Far Eastern University on 26 October.

Despite the convincing victory, Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro admitted that they stull have a lot to work on to reach their desire form.

“We still have to polish a lot of things,” said Almadro, whose wards are also campaigning in the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Preseason Tournament during weekends.

“But we are preparing for bigger games, not just the V-League, but also the UAAP. So, we really need to work on so many things.”

After taking the first two sets in identical fashions, the Lady Eagles turned it up a notch higher in the next, unleashing an 11-1 run capped by Nisperos’ four straight aces for a huge 19-8 bulge.

De Guzman’s kill made it 22-10 before Gandler took over and closed out the match.

Kristine Dionisio fired 12 points while Tina Marasigan and Kamille Tan put in seven points apiece for the Lady Stags, who will clash with the Adamson Falcons next.

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