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Ateneo seals title duel with National U

Game Saturday
12:45 p.m. • UST vs FEU (best-of-three for third)
Game Sunday
12:45 p.m. • NU vs Ateneo (best-of-three for crown)

BRACING for a sudden death skirmish, Ateneo cruised to a lopsided win instead as it pounced on a listless University of Santo Tomas side, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19, yesterday to seal a showdown with National U for the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.

Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez (2) and Bea de Leon (14) celebrate after scoring a hit against UST’s Pam Lastimosa (6) and Sarah Verutiao in their sudden death for the second finals berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Collegiate Conference.

Stung by their four-set loss to the Tigresses in Game Two last Sunday that snapped their amazing 10-game run, the Lady Eagles put on a near-impeccable all-around game anchored on solid blocking, outclassing the España-based squad all throughout the 78-minute match and winning their best-of-three series, 2-1.

Ateneo, which took the opener, 27-25, 25-16, 25-17, and NU, which swept FEU in their side of the Final Four, kick off their best-of-three title series on Sunday starting at 12:45 p.m. to be aired live on GMA News TV Channel 11, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

FEU and UST start their own playoff for third on Saturday, also at 12:45 p.m.

Handily taking the first two frames via the same scores, Ateneo pulled away from a 11-8 count in the third by rattling off eight straight hits spiked by five blocks that completely broke the backs of the stunned Tigresses, who hobbled all game with top hitter Ennajie Laure struggling and skipper Pam Lastimosa checked by Ateneo net defenders.

The league six-time champions did save five match points from 14-24 as Ateneo relaxed toward the end but the Lady Eagles clinched the victory just the same on a UST service error.

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