ATENEO de Manila University clawed the last playoff ticket, sweeping Emilio Aguinaldo College with a 25-13, 25-20, 25-16 win as the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship elimination round drew to a close over the weekend at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
Faye Sophia Nisperos, sister of former Ateneo ace player Faith, hammered seven points to lead a balanced attack as the Blue Eagles finished with a 2-1 card to secure the second seed in Pool D, topped by Far Eastern University (FEU) at 3-0.
Ateneo bowed to FEU the other day after squandering a two-set lead but rebounded right away with Sophia Beatriz Buena, Jennifer Delos Santos and AC Miner also producing six points apiece.
Veteran spiker and leading team scorer Lyann De Guzman only had five points this time but the Blue Eagles, under new coach Sergio Veloso, still proved too much to handle for the Lady Generals in pocketing the win in only 79 minutes.
“It’s a big win but the most important is for our players trying to play within the system. It’s a new system where the players have to follow and they’re playing well within the system so far,” said Mr. Veloso, also the Philippine men’s volleyball team coach.
Ateneo will join reigning champion and leader National University of Pool A, No. 2 Arellano University from Pool B and top-seeded University of Santo Tomas from Pool C in the new Pool E for the carryover playoffs featuring the top two teams from each group.
Meanwhile, National University (NU) and Adamson University also posted easy wins against Jose Rizal University (JRU) and San Beda University to end the elimination round of the 16-team SSL backed by Mikasa, Eurotel, Victory Liner, Summit Bottle Water, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken, R and B Milk Tea, Potato Corner, Rebel Sports, Converge ICT Solutions, Genius Sports and United Auctioneers, Inc.
NU wiped out Pool A by sweeping JRU 25-11, 25-12, 25-11 as Adamson topped Pool B with a 25-14, 25-10, 25-17 win over San Beda.
The Lady Falcons, who finished third in SSL Season 1 and runner-up in the SSL National Invitationals, will tangle against No. 2 University of the East of Pool A, No. 2 College of St. Benilde of Pool C and No. 1 FEU from Pool D in the new Pool F.
The remaining teams will duke it out in a single-round robin play within their groups to determine the final rankings for the crossover quarterfinals, which will be in a knockout format until the semifinals and the best-of-three title series. — John Bryan Ulanday