Ateneo ends slump, crushes UP

Ateneo de Manila University halted a four-game skid with a convincing, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22, win over University of the Philippines to end the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament first round on a high note Sunday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Co-captains Vanie Gandler and Faith Nisperos showed the way for the Blue Eagles’ second win in seven starts.

Gandler had 17 markers built on 13 attacks, two kill blocks and two aces while Nisperos dropped 15 points off 12 kills and two aces on top of five digs for Ateneo, which in all sets battled UP in close contests at the start of each frame before pulling away.

“We missed this feeling. I mean well, I thank the Lord for giving us strength and I thank the players for accepting the challenge,” Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro said.

“I challenged them to take pride and have a strong character in this game,” Almadro added as he breathed a sigh of relief following Ateneo’s sting of misfortunes.

Ateneo used a 6-3 closing run in the third set to shatter a 19-19 deadlock to seal the victory.

The Blue Eagles handed the Fighting Maroons their fourth straight defeat. UP slid to a 1-5 mark.

Jewel Encarnacion was the lone Fighting Maroon in double figures with 11 points.

Nina Ytang and Alyssa Bertolano had seven and six markers for UP, which will end its first round campaign on Wednesday against Adamson.

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