MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo rookie setter KC Cortez gave new coach Sergio Veloso a successful debut after fending off a tough Mapua College, 25-23, 25-20, 35-33, in the preseason championship -Shakey’s Super League (SSL) collegiate season. Season 2 Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan.
Cortez, a prized recruit from Bacolod Tay Tung High School, played his first match as a Blue Eagle with 21 superb sets that led to four Blue Eagles scoring in double figures in the all-to-play format.
The young playmaker showed composure in the neck-and-neck third set, where he overcame a 31-32 deficit with Lyann De Guzman scoring three of her final four points to earn her first pool victory D.
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“I didn’t let the stress get the better of me. I trusted my teammates, listened to my coaches and executed what we do in practice,” Cortez said after the game.
Having started life without Religion star Nisperos, who opted to go professional, De Guzman finished with 14 points – 10 coming from the third set. AC Miner and Sophia Buena scored 11 points each, while Gena Could Hora scored 10 points.
Libero Roma Mae Doromal protected the Ateneo floor in his first pre-season appearance under Brazilian coach Veloso, who replaced Oliver Almadro after his four-season tenure.
Mapua slipped to 0-2 in Pool D, which Far Japanese College leads 2-0.
Roxie Dela Cruz led the Women Cardinals with 16 points, while Freighanne Seanelle Garcia scored 10 in another loss.
Meanwhile, Nationwide University relied on Bella Belen’s 13 points to beat the San Sebastian school, 25-18, 25-15, 25-13, and remain undefeated in two matches in Pool A.
Riding the momentum from their straight-sets win over Eastern University less than 24 hours ago, the Woman Bulldogs have maintained their near-unstoppable form with former UAAP rookie MVP Belen leading the way this times.
Captain Erin Pangilinan was also instrumental for NU with nine points, as Vange Alinsug delivered eight points with reigning SSL MVP Alyssa Solomon and freshman Arah Panique seeing limited action and mixing in nine scorers.
San Sebastian fell to a 1-1 record in Pool A with Kath Santos carrying the sticks with nine points.
Earlier, Laika Tudlasan secured Arellano College’s spot in the next round after scoring 19 points on 17 hits and two aces to torch Lyceum, 25-22, 17-25, 25-21, 25-17.
Tudlasan was supported by Marianne Padillion with 14 points while Donnalyn Paralejas handed out 22 superb sets in addition to four points.
Lyceum fell to a 1-1 record with Stacey Lopez leading the way with 11 points. Johna Dolorito and Hiromi Osada had 10 each before their do-or-die duel against Adamson (1-0) on Monday.
Ateneo gives setter KC Cortez and coach Sergio Veloso successful debuts
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