ATENEO, stealing the spotlight from the rematch of last year's Finals between La Salle and Far Eastern University, topped the first round in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Bouncing back from an error-filled first set defeat, the Lady Eagles extended their winning run to six with a 23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17 tripping of upstart National University.
The Lady Spikers posted their second consecutive straight sets romp, a 25-15, 25-19, 26-24 conquest of the Tamaraws to grab the provisional hold of second spot.
Maddie Madayag took the scoring mantle with 17 points, including four service aces and three blocks, setter Deanna Wong delivered another match-clinching drop shot to go with 29 excellent sets and 20 digs, but it was Bea de Leon's unquestioned leadership that propelled Ateneo to victory.
De Leon, relishing every moment of her fifth and final year, had four blocks to finish with 13 points to follow up her breakout outing in last Wednesday's four-set win over Adamson.
"Great sacrifice will give you great outcome. I never doubted Bea's leadership," said Lady Eagles coach Oliver Almadro.
Fully recovered from its back-to-back defeats, La Salle improve to 5-2 to moved within a game of Ateneo, while FEU fell at 4-3 in fourth spot.
In the men's division, JP Bugaoan and Jude Garcia combined for 28 hits as FEU completed a first round sweep with a 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 romp of La Salle.
With the tough second round looming, coach Rei Diaz reminded his Tamaraws that their work is far from over, saying: “Kailangan huwag namin tingnan ang 7-0.”