Ateneo turns back NU, enters Final Four for 10th straight season

Ateneo de Manila University secured a semifinals berth as they prevailed over National University in hard-fought four sets, 25-14, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19, in the second round of the UAAP Season 81, Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Lady Eagles survived the Lady Buldogs’ late-set bites and zoomed for a 10-game win streak to maintain a solo hold of the top with a 10-1 card.

With the win, the Katipunan-based squad entered the Final Four for the 10th straight time.

It was a total team effort for Ateneo as five spikers finished in double figures with Kat Tolentino and Jules Samonte topscoring with 13 points each.

Maddie Madayag, Bea de Leon and Ponggay Gaston also helped the Lady Eagles’ caused as they chipped in 12, 10, and 10, respectively.

Ateneo went to work right away in the first set, banking on their net defense to overpower NU for a game-high 16-7 deficit.

After a dismal opener, the Lady Bulldogs displayed more fight in the next frame as they erased a three-point deficit for a 22-19 lead.

Madayag closed the gap via a block and an ace for the Lady Eagles, 22-22, before Ivy Lacsina came through and scored two of the last four points for NU.

NU managed to stay close at the start of the third before Ateneo buckled up in the middle part of the set and grab the win.

It was the same story in the fourth as the Lady Bulldogs have had another strong start before the Lady Eagles took over mid-set to complete their elimination sweep of the former.

Rookie duo Lacsina and Ces Robles collaborated for 26 markers to no avail as Nu absorbed its third loss in 11 outings.

NU takes on FEU next on April 10 while Ateneo looks to avenge its lone loss when it faces DLSU on April 13.

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