Sans Valdez, Lady Eagles open V-League conference with win over Tigresses
MANILA, Philippines – No Alyssa Valdez, no problem.
The Ateneo Lady Eagles opened the Shakey's V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference with a 25-11, 27-25, 19-25, 25-20 victory over the UST Golden Tigresses on Saturday, July 11, at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The UAAP Season 77 women's volleyball titlists played without its MVP Valdez who was being rested after playing multiple local and international tournaments since last season.
In Valdez's absence, hitter Jhoanna Maraguinot stepped up with a game-high 23 points on 21 kills. Amy Ahomiro posted 14 markers of her own, including 4 blocks, while middle hitter Bea de Leon added 12 points built on 8 attacks, two blocks, and two service aces.
New recruit Filipino-Japanese Risa Sato debuted with 9 points and 3 excellent digs as Kim Gequillana chipped in 7 points. Meanwhile, the highly-anticipated debut of new recruit Katrina Tolentino was spoiled after she reportedly injured her right knee, according to ABS-CBN Sports.
Hyped to be at par with Valdez, the Filipino-Canadian reportedly injured her knee during warm-up just before the game.
The Lady Eagles trumped the Tigresses and their resistance despite also not having ace setter Jia Morado, who will be out for two to 3 months as she undergoes minor surgery in her injured left knee. Spiker Michelle Morente will also sit out the tournament reportedly due to academic problems.
Team captain Pam Lastimosa led the way for UST with 14 points, including 4 blocks and 3 service aces. EJ Laure had 13 points on 10 kills and 3 blocks, while Mela Tunay contributed 11 points and had 10 attacks.
Fourth year setter Gizelle Tan, amid the pressure of having huge shoes to fill in Morado's absence, won the setting department with 23 excellent sets. UST's rookie setter Sarah Verutiao had just 10. – Rappler.com