Ateneo de Manila U primed itself up for the semis battle as it got past arch rival De La Salle, 25-17, 26-24, 25-15, to close the elimination phase of the 2023 V-League Collegiate Conference on Sunday at Paco Arena.
The Blue Eagles broke away from a tight 11-10 game in the third set as Amil Pacinio pounced on the Green Spikers’ wobbly service reception to fuel a 6-0 run with Jian Salarzon and Ken Batas sealing the set and the match with clutch kills.
The victory likewise gave the Blue Eagles the momentum and confidence as they take on the Green Spikers in post-elims play with University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University clashing in the other half of the draw.
"We just have to remind them mentally that we are not in the position to relax in every game. Every game kailangang nag-prepare, kailangan naming maglaro ng maayos, dahil kailangan naming matuto every time," said Ateneo coach Timothy Sto. Tomas.
Salarzon, who produced eight spikes, also had three timely blocks in the back-and-forth second set duel while Batas led Ateneo with 15 points and Pacinio finished with 13 markers.
JM Ronquillo fired 14 points for La Salle but the Blue Eagles held Yoyong Mendoza and Noel Kampton to four and two markers, respectively.