By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
LIKE a freight train the Ateneo Lady Eagles steamrolled to their fifth straight win in UAAP Season 81 with a four-sets victory over the Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-8, 22-25, 25-16 and 25-10, in their “avian clash” on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Had it up and down in the first two sets, the Lady Eagles played with more steadiness in the next two frames to put out the fight from the Lady Falcons and improve to a University Athletic Association of the Philippines season-best 5-1 record.
The Lady Falcons had some success to begin the first set, building a 4-0 lead, before the Lady Eagles began exacting their will.
Ateneo went on an 8-1 run after to claim an 8-5 lead by the first technical timeout.
It was all Lady Eagles the rest of the way, outworking and outhustling their opponents for the dominant 25-8 set win.
The start of the second set took a familiar route as the first with Adamson gaining early traction.
But Ateneo would once again beat it at the first technical break, 8-6.
The Lady Falcons though did not allow the Lady Eagles to soar too far, going on a 5-2 run on the lead of veteran Joy Dacoron to overtake Ateneo, 11-10.
Bea De Leon and the rest of the Lady Eagles then responded with a 6-3 blitz to stay ahead, 16-14, midway.
The fight, however, was not over for the Lady Falcons as they fashioned out a comeback, taking a 21-19 lead.
It used it as leverage to go on and take the set 25-22 and level the match at a set apiece.
Recognizing that they let the second set slipped from their claws, the Lady Eagles began the third frame with more aggression.
On the lead of De Leon anew, Ateneo rocketed to an 8-2 advantage, extending it to an even bigger lead, 16-8, at the halfway juncture.
It would not relent on the surge after that to take the set, 25-16, and the 2-1 lead for the match.
The Ateneans met a strong challenge from Adamson to start the fourth set but collectively stayed solid.
Towed by De Leon, Ponggay Gaston and Kat Tolentino, the Lady Eagles created a 16-8 separation.
It was a distance that proved too far to overhaul for the Lady Falcons as they bowed to their second straight defeat.
Gaston paced Ateneo with 16 points with Tolentino adding 15.
De Leon, for her part, had 14 points.
Adamson (1-5), meanwhile, was led by Eli Soyud with 13 points with Dacoron and Chiara Permentilla adding nine points each.
“We really wanted to have this win. We had a short turnaround from our last game but credit to the players for stepping up the way they did today,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almandro postgame.
Ateneo finishes its first-round assignment on March 16 versus the National University Bulldogs while Adamson will have a date with University of the Philippines Lady Maroons on March 17.