18 May 2019
By Ardyn Gonzales
The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles reclaimed the championship after a three-season drought via a straight-set win over the University of Sto. Tomas Lady Tigresses in Game 3 of the Finals, 25-15, 25-22, 25-22, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Ateneo displayed their defense prowess and put up a block party as they pocketed the opening set, tallying 5 kill blocks in the first frame alone.
The Lady Tigresses adjusted in the second set and established a 16-12 lead heading into the second technical timeout. However, the Lady Eagles responded with four consecutive points to tie things up. Both teams exchanged hits until the Ateneo created a crucial three-point separationsparked by back-to-back service aces by Deanna Wong and a block by Ponggay Gaston.
Sisi Rondina saved one point, but she followed it by a net violation to give the Lady Eagles a 2-0 lead in the match.
With momentum on their side, Ateneo continued to roll in the third set and built a 16-9 cushion. But Rondina and Eya Laure powered the Lady Tigresses to fight back as they overcame the deficit and forced a 22-all deadlock.
Maddie Madayag then took over for the Lady Eagles to reach championship point, followed by an off-the-block attack by Jules Samonte to clinch the championship.
Kat Tolentino topscored for Ateneo with 15 points, while graduating seniors Madayag and Bea de Leon ended their UAAP career with combined 16 markers. Team captain de Leon was also hailed as the Finals MVP as she led the Lady Eagles to their third UAAP title.
Meanwhile, Rondina also played her last game in the UAAP with team-high 18 points.
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