MANILA—Ateneo staved off a relentless rally by National U in the latter sets to forge a 25-17, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24 decision Wednesday to barge into the win column of the 73rd UAAP Women's Volleyball tournament Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan.
La Salle, in contrasting fashion, meanwhile rolled to its second straight win after handily defeating University of the Philippines, 25-17, 25-12, 25-13.
Pocket-sized rookie Ella De Jesus played big anew as she racked up four straight points that gave the Lady Eagles a crucial 23-20 advantage before her squad ultimately finished the Lady Bulldogs off with a quick set shot from junior Gretchen Ho.
"I'm thankful cause I wasn't expecting (to be given this amount of exposure),” said De Jesus who had 18 points for Ateneo on 17 attacks and a block.
Ateneo bounced back from a nail biting, five-setter loss to defending champion University of Santo Tomas in the opening day of the competition.
After a listless start for the Lady Bulldogs heightened by their predictable attacking and poor court coverage, they sprung back to life and forcefully took the third set behind efforts of Meriv Magui, who also wound up with 18 points on 17 kills.
The scrappy NU squad even managed to knot the game at 24 on the last set.
The Lady Maroons, however, did not posses the same zeal to storm back in the contest after a close first frame, 17-19, as they dropped the next six straight points and took an unforgiving beating from the Lady Archers from that set towards the end.
The La Salle Lady Spikers, paced by Abigail Marano's 10 markers on seven kills that went with two blocks, simply pounced on numerous unforced errors from the UP side.
In the men's volleyball competition, Far Eastern U disposed Univ. of the East with an identical 25-18 three-set victory while NU narrowly escaped Ateneo, 16-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-13.
Karl Ian Dela Caldaza scored 13 points for the 2-0 FEU with skipper Rodolfo Labrador Jr adding 10 more on nine spikes.