UAAP: Ateneo takes Game 1, One more Archer down

MANILA, Philippines – Defending Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Lady Blue Spikers proved their Archrivals that they are untouchables by blanking the ladies from Taft 3 sets to none and just one more win away from a back-to-back on Wednesday March 11 at Mall Of Asia Arena, Pasay City.

Alyssa Valdez shuts down DLSU with 25 points-22 attacks
Alyssa Valdez shuts down DLSU with 25 points-22 attacks

De LaSalle University (DLSU) Head Coach Ramil De Jesus, really felt his top gunner – Ara Galang’s absence and suffered a very rare 0-3 sets defeat. Galang who’s enduring a torn ACL and MCL on her left knee which she sustained during their grudge match against third seeded National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs is officially out for the finals. Wearing a leg cast and unable to help her comrades, Galang showed her full support on the sideline in her school colors.

Reigning MVP Alyssa Valdez, added woes to the Lady Archers by soaring and surging early in the opening set. The San Juan Batangas native, tallied 9 quick points as early as first set and recorded a total of 25 points – 22 attacks in the whole 3 sets and earned the Best Player of the Game Award.

Coach Ramil De Jesus, tasked his Middle Hitter and Blocker, 5’10” Mary Joy Baron to repulse the heavy hitter Valdez. But the Lady Eagle MVP and Best Scorer was too much to handle for the Lady Archer.

Alyssa Valdez got a full support from her colleagues Amy Ahomiro who was too fast and unpredictable in front of the net, quicking and dropping the volleyball to the visibly unmanned green territory and Michelle Morente who has an Eagle eye, made money on her uncontested service aces.

Christine Joy Soyud and Mika Aereen Reyes both stepped-up in absence of their leading scorer Ara Galang to avoid a total humiliation in front of the jam-packed MOA Arena. Both DLSU Stars helped their team closed the scoring gap and somehow gave the Eagles a very good match.

Injury plague still continues for Coach Ramil De Jesus and his gang. With Ara Galang now in leg cast, their Outside Hitter Camille Mary Cruz also suffered a knee injury in the last minutes of the third and final set. Cruz went for a dig but got blocked by ADMU Co-Captian Amy Ahomiro and landed awkwardly on the floor holding her right knee and grimacing in pain. DLSU Medics immediately ran towards her and brought her to the bench for further medical attention.

After sealing their first win in Season 77 Finale, the Lady Blue Spikers didn’t spend time to celebrate, instead, immediately lined-up in the middle of the court for the mandatory shake hands with the opposing team as a sign of camaraderie and respect. Alyssa Valedez rushed to the DLSU bench and approach the injured Archer and expressed a sign of concern.

Both squads still have 3 more days to prepare and adjust their respective battle plans before they face each other again for the Game 2 of the Finals which will be held again at MOA Arena at exactly 3:30pm.

The Lady Blue Spikers is just a win away from their first ever back-to-back championships. But ADMU Head Coach Tai Bundit and Team Manager Tony Liao remind their girls that they should take this finals one game at a time, focus and play the usual intensity with or without their Archrivals leading scorers.

Set Scores:

25-18, 25-19, 25-19

-D' Waterboy, TheSummitExpress

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