THE Ateneo Lady Eagles took solo leadership in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines with a dominant straight-sets win over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 25-21, 25-15 and 28-26, in their battle of top teams on Sunday.
Showing much steadier play for majority of the match, the Lady Eagles were not to be denied of their fourth straight win in the ongoing season to improve to 4-1, alone on top of the heap.
The Lady Eagles were commanding in the first two sets, taking advantage of the below-par showing of the Lady Maroons, taking the sets 25-21 and 25-15 to race to a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, Ateneo stayed ahead of its opponent, holding a 16-12 lead by the second technical timeout.
But unlike in the previous two sets, the Lady Eagles would find a more resilient UP squad.
The Lady Maroons managed to level the count at 17-all before Ateneo created another two-point separation at 19-17.
UP once again pulled even at 19-all after which a back-and-forth ensued.
The Lady Eagles were first to match point, 24-23, but the Lady Maroons levelled it to force overdrive.
UP had a chance to take the third set when it went up, 26-25, but it could not capitalize on it and in the process breathed life back to Ateneo, which the latter used to take it all the way for the 28-26 set win and the shutout victory.
“We just played our game. At the end of the day we are playing against ourselves and needing to keep our focus,” said Madayag, who finished with 14 points, after their win. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo