By Ardyn Gonzales
The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles are now assured of a podium finish after eliminating the University of Sto. Tomas Lady Tigresses in straight sets, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball stepladder semifinals, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Faith Nisperos unleashes 23 points on 17 attacks, two kill blocks, and four service aces to lead the Blue Eagles in their third consecutive victories in do-or-die matches. Vanie Gandler is not far behind with 15 points, while Erika Raagas and AC Miner combined for 16 markers.
The Blue Eagles were trailing UST in the first and second frames, with the Lady Tigresses threatening to close out the sets on both occasions. In the first set, Ateneo was down, 22-23, until AC Miner, Vanie Gandler, and Lyann De Guzman joined forces for a 3-0 run. The first set ended via an emphatic block by De Guzman on Eya Laure.
It was the same scenario in the second set as Ateneo was down again, 22-23. But the Blue Eagles pulled off another 3-0 run to finish the set, capped off with another kill block to seal the 2-0 advantage.
It was all Ateneo in the third frame as the defending champions capitalized on their momentum to complete the sweep.
Eya Laure led UST with 15 points as they bid their farewell to their championship hopes this season. Meanwhile, Ateneo will have a chance to get back into the finals against their archrivals La Salle, armed with a twice-to-beat bonus.
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