Valdez scores 36 as Ateneo rallies past DLSU in Battle of the Rivals

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UNSTOPPABLE: Alyssa Valdez donned Ateneo de Manila’s blue jersey and dropped 36 points in a five-set win over De La Salle University.

It was like the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Finals…in July.

An electric atmosphere with deafening cheers in a sea of blue and green filled the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday as two of the most celebrated collegiate teams battled it out for pride, fun and charity.

Thousands of fans in attendance got a chance to experience the storied rivalry between Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University once again and were treated to a thrilling match that mirrored the epic six straight UAAP championship showdowns between the two proud schools.

In the end, the heartstrong mantra of the blue-clad Lady Eagles prevailed over the Animo spirit of the green-wearing Lady Spikers in a dramatic come-from-behind, 17-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-13, win behind the heroics of Alyssa Valdez.

The former three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Valdez delivered 36 points to power the Lady Eagles in the fund-raising event for the benefit of both universities’ athletic scholarship program.

Valdez punched 32 attacks with three aces and a kill block while Ella De Jesus finished with 11 for Ateneo.

Top playmaker Jia Morado, the UAAP Season 77 Best Setter, was named Ateneo MVP as she tallied 58 excellent sets to help the Lady Eagles nail 62 attack points.      

With superstar alumni Michele Gumabao, Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Stephanie Mercado and Aby Marano leading the way, DLSU got their game going early in the match and looked like heading to an easy win after taking the first two sets in dominating fashion.

But Valdez and De Jesus sparked Ateneo’s comeback to force a decider.

With momentum shifting on their side, the Lady Eagles raced to a 7-3 lead in the fifth set. DLSU answered with a 6-1 rally to tie it at 8 on a Marano running attack.

The Lady Spikers took the lead, 9-8, after Valdez smashed her attack straight to the net. Valdez tied it again at 9 with a down the line hit.

From there it was a see-saw battle.

Ateneo blasted three straight points to break an 11-11 deadlock to move at match point, 14-11. DLSU save two match point before Valdez pounded the match-clinching off the block kill.

Marano, the DLSU MVP, and Galang had 16 markers each while Mercado and Reyes got 13 and 11, respectively.

 

 

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