There is no such thing as “no-bearing” when it comes to Ateneo-La Salle matchups.
Under the gun even before the match started, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles still completed an elimination round sweep over rivals De La Salle University Lady Spikers despite a depleted rotation, 12-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, Saturday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The win gives Ateneo a rare regular season sweep of La Salle — a feat in itself. They will finish with a 12-2 slate. On the other hand, this was La Salle’s only loss in the second round.
“Malaking achievement din sa team tsaka yung performance nila sa elimination maganda,” Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses said. “Ayun naman yun eh number one ka mas mataas morale mo sa ibang team.”
Having rested ace spiker Jhoana Maraguinot, the Lady Eagles relied on a complete team effort from players off the bench like Ana Gopico and rookie Jules Samonte. Moreover, facing La Salle brought out the best out of Michelle Morente and Bea de Leon once more.
Morente towed the Lady Eagles with 14 markers, 12 coming off attacks, while De Leon also scored 14 as well. But it was Samonte’s 10 markers that proved the be the x-factor in Ateneo’s win.
“Expected na yun kay Jules nung simula pa lang. Talagang hindi lang mabigyan ng break kasi may mga seniors,” Meneses remarked about the freshman. “Pero siya yung pinakamasipag sa team so nag-pay off naman yung sipag niya sobra.”
Kim Dy made her return after a one-day rest, pacing the Lady Spikers with 15 points. Desiree Cheng and Majoy Baron added 13 and 11 markers respectively. However, their efforts went to naught as they committed a horrid 36 errors.
Ateneo have nailed the first seed and will take on the fourth-seeded Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in the Final Four. The series will start on Sunday, April 23, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
La Salle drop to second and will face the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses. Their series begins on Saturday, April 22, at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
ADMU (3) – Morente 14, De Leon 10, Samonte 10, Tolentino 5, Madayag 3, Morado 2, Gopico 2, Gaston 1, Lo 0, Gequillana 0, Lavitoria 0, Tan (L), Wong (L).
DLSU (1) – Dy 15, Cheng 13, Baron 11, Tiamzon 10, Fajardo 7, Ogunsanya 4, Layug 1, Cobb 0, Luna 0, Ipac 0, Macandili (L).