SATURDAY proved to be a glorious day for the Hail Mary squad as Ateneo cemented two semifinals berth in the 72nd University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan City.

Three Blue Eagle spikers scored double figures to subdue the University of the Philippines (UP), three sets to one, and claim its seventh win in thirteen outings.

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Quarter scores are 23-25, 29-27, 23-25, 25-20 for the Eagles as the Timothy Sto. Thomas-led squad fought hard against a never-say-die Fighting Maroons.

John Joseph Sandoval tallied 20 points, 19 hits while Duane Craig Teves chipped in 17 points and 17 hits to banner the Eagles throughout the 93-minute action. In support as well is graduating team captain Andre Joseph Pareja who punched in additional 15 points.

“Final Four is just around the corner, so we are really happy with this win,” said Sto. Thomas.

The Eagles moved up a bit in the team standings at 7-6 (win-loss record) while the Maroons are now on the brink of elimination after dropping to 6-7.

With the win, Ateneo joined the fray of early birds University of Santo Tomas (10-1), Far Eastern University (10-2), and De La Salle University (7-6).

In the other men’s contest, FEU outlasted La Salle in the 76-minute non-bearing showdown.

Veteran Nestor Molate led the Tamaraws anew with 19 points, 16 hits and one ace service to keep the pace with the defending champions, UST.

Skipper Rodolfo Labrador added 17 points, five blocks while Joshua Alcarde netted 15 points for the Morayta tossers.

Chris Macasaet and Michael Antonio teamed up for 26 points to lead the losing effort of the Green Archers.

Lady Eagles too

The celebration never stops as another Ateneo squad booked a trip to the semifinals.

The Lady Eagles needed only 67 minutes to blank University of the East in three straight sets, 25-16, 27-25, 25-17.

Angeline Gervacio scored 16 points, 15 hits, one block and one ace service to power the lady quintet for a 9-4 slate, one game ahead of contender Adamson University (8-4).

The Lady Eagles kept a strong hold of the third spot behind the clean slate of defending champion La Salle (11-0) and UST’s second-best 10-2 mark.

The other women’s battle saw the Adamson improving each game as the Lady Falcons dispose of UP in 72 minutes.

Quarter scores are 21-25, 25-9, 25-13, 25-14 in favor of the San Marcelino quintet.

Team captain Carmela Barcelon lifted the Falcons with nine points and eight hits.

The Lady Maroons, now out of contention, slipped to a 4-9 slate.

The last four billings for this year’s elimination round is set today (Sunday) as the Lady Archers will try to nail its 12th straight victory at the expense of resurgent University of Santo Tomas in the 4 p.m. main event. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)