UP makes quick work of CSB for second win

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons made quick work of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Lady Blazers in straight sets, 25-19, 25-13, 25-19, to take their second win in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

UP started strong from the get-go, leading the Blazers throughout most of the first set.

Despite a run from CSB late in the set, the Lady Maroons were able to hold their ground, winning the first, 25-19.


With a barrage of attacks and stellar floor defense, the Lady Maroons cruised through the second set, 25-13 to take the dominating 2-0 lead.

Going into the third frame, CSB couldn’t find any answers to the stifling Maroon offense.

UP doubled up on CSB, 16-8 at the second technical timeout. But the Blazers weren’t about to go away just yet.

The Taft squad went on a furious run to catch up to State U, cutting the deficit to just a couple, 19-21.

Luckily for UP, the girls were able to prevent a late match meltdown with a 6-0 run and took the third and final set, 25-19.

Team Captain Tots Carlos led the way for the Maroons with 14 points, while player of the game Rem Cailing contributed with 24 excellent sets for the win.

“Maganda yung ginawa ng team ngayon, nagkaproblems lang sa sunod sunod na error” Carlos said after the game.

 

UP dominated the Blazers in almost every aspect of the game, including spikes where they outscored CSB 38-15, but they also committed six more errors, 28-22.

 

With the victory, State U is now on a win streak. The Diliman team hopes to push the streak to three as they face the San Beda College Red Lionesses on Saturday, September 23.

Atleta ng Bayan: Sulong, kabataang Lakbayani

Kuha ni Keith Magcaling
Sulat ni Raneza Beatrice Pinlac

Tumatak sa isip ng madla ang karaniwang mukha ng isang atleta – tumatagaktak na pawis habang sumasabak sa palarong umaalab sa kanilang mga puso. Subalit para sa mga atleta ng bayan, ang laban ay higit pa sa hangganan ng kani-kanilang mga isport. Layon nilang magamit ito bilang kasangkapan upang magampanan ang kanilang tungkulin para sa bayan.

Sa ikatlong taon ng pagsasaganap ng sports clinic para sa mga kabataang Lakbayani noong ika-16 ng Setyembre, nagsilbing sinag ng pag-asa ang UP Men’s at Women’s Football Teams para sa 40 batang namulat sa isang mundong nadungisan ng militarisasyon at kahirapan. Kasangga rin ng mga koponan ang Gabriela Youth – UP Diliman sa kanilang matagumpay na pagkamit sa pakay ng programa.

Ilan lamang ang caterpillar drill at pagsasanay sa futbol sa mga aktibidad na inihanda ng mga organizer para sa mga batang lakbayani. IItinuro rin ng mga atleta ng bayan ang mga pangunahing kakayahan na mahalaga sa paglalaro ng kanilang isport tulad ng tamang pagsipa at pagpasa ng bola. Pagkatapos, namigay ang koponan ng mga mumunting regalo at pagkain para sa mga batang nakilahok sa kanilang sports clinic.

Madaling naaninag ang maliliwanag na ngiti ng mga batang punong-puno ng taos-pusong saya at pasasalamat sa mga atletang panandalian nilang nakalaro. Para naman sa mga atleta, pagkakataon ito upang ipadama sa mga Lakbayani ang kanilang mainit na pagtanggap sa kanila.

Ayon kay Kali Navea-Huff, punong-abala ng sports clinic at miyembro ng UP Women’s Football team, mahalagang nakikiisa ang mga atleta sa mga bata mula sa Save our Schools Network hindi dahil agad nitong mawawaksi ang problemang pasan ng mga bata ngunit upang maiparamdam na ligtas sila sa pansamantalang tahanan sa unibersidad.

Naniniwala ang mga atleta ng bayan na bukod sa pagbabahagi nila ng kaalaman tungkol sa futbol, nakapagbahagi rin sila ng pansamantalang pahinga para sa mga pagal na puso ng mga batang maagang sinubok ang hinagpis ng buhay.

“Higit sa pagpapahatid ng saya, nababalikan rin nila ang kanilang pagkabata,” pahayag ni Lian Valencia, kinatawan ng Gabriela sa sports clinic.

Namulat ang mga Lakbayani sa isang mundong puno ng takot at pangamba na dulot ng militarisasyon. Sila ay nakipagsapalaran tungo sa UP Diliman upang ibahagi ang kanilang mga karanasan sa ilalim ng karahasan at pang-aabuso ng militar. Minsan nang umabot sa kasukdulan ang karahasang buhat ng militar sa kabataan noong nabalita ang malupit na pagpatay kay Obillo Bay-ao, isang 19-anyos na estudyante.  

Nagpapasalamat naman si Ian Clarino, miyembro ng UP Maroon Booters, sa mga batang Lakbayani.

Ayon sa kanya, napaalala ng kanilang munting mga kalaro na dapat harapin ang buhay nang may pusong puno ng tapang at paniniwala na malalampasan nila ang bawat pagsubok na hahadlang sa kanilang pagabot ng kanilang mga pangarap.

Ang pagiging atleta ng bayan ay hindi lamang nasusukat ng kanilang nahahakot na panalo sa mga palarong kanilang sinasalihan dahil isa rin sa mga pangunahing gampanin nila ay ang magbigay serbisyo at tulong sa mga nangangailangan, ani Clarino.

Tunay na nakatatak sa isip ng madla ang larawan ng mga atleta na naglalaban-laban sa mga palakasan upang makamit ang kampeonato. Ngunit para sa atleta ng bayan, ang tunay na tagumpay ay natatamo sa pamamagitan ng pagiging katalista ng pasulong na pagbabago para sa kinabukasan ng ating bayan.

UP bucks slow start to grab second win

Photo by Cleverlyn Mayuga

Text by Selina Jo Paredes

After coming off a blowout loss, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons secured a bounce-back win against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 84-71, today in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum

Starting the game slow, UP found themselves in a tight spot. Pressure defense and perimeter play from the Red Warriors saw State U trailing as much as 14 points late in the first quarter.

Early in the second frame, UE got into foul trouble, making the Maroons a frequent on the stripe, shooting 3/6 free throws.

The Maroons slowly found their rhythm after a floater from Jun Manzo and back-to-back shots from Javi Gomez De Liano who completed an and-1  to give UP the lead at 34-33.

UE’s defense, however, proved to be a thorn on UP’s side as they took advantage of the Maroons’ back-to-back empty possessions late in the second and retook the lead at 38-42 after a Clark Derige three at the buzzer.

Come second half, momentum was finally in State U’s favor as the team went on a scorching run as Paul Desiderio shot lights out and outscored the Warriors 16-7 in the quarter.

Late in the third, UE found themselves in the penalty once more while the Maroons only committed two fouls the whole period. As time expired, Prado tipped in a miss to give the Maroons a 15 point lead.

UP’s run continued in the last period, stretching the lead as big as 23. Both teams traded baskets midway in the fourth, but the Red Warriors could not catch up. Ibrahim Ouattara sealed the deal with a basket with :14 remaining on the clock.  Mark Olayon with the last-ditch effort could only trim UP’s lead to 13.

Maroon Captain Desiderio ended the  game with a career-high double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds. Ouattara, in his breakout game contributed his own double-double with 14 points and 18 boards.

“Malaking bagay talaga nawawala samin when he’s [Desiderio] not getting his regular game, what a time to get his game back.” UP Head coach Bo Perasol said.

Perasol praised Ouattara’s rebound efforts saying, “With his rebounding today, we were able to settle down on our defense unlike how we played against Ateneo when we gave up 31 second chance points.” he added.

With the win, State U improves their season record to 2-1.

This marks UP’s seventh win under Coach Bo Perasol, matching its win record from seasons 73 to 78 combined.

Derige led the Red Warriors with 21 markers and four rebounds.

The UP Fighting Maroons hope to stay in the the win column as they face the returning Ben Mbala and De La Salle University Green Archers on September 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

UP gets blown out in Battle of Katipunan

Photo by Cleverlyn Mayuga
Text by Jedd Pagaduan

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons received a rude wake-up call, getting blown out by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, 92-71, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday.

UP started out slow, trailing 12-4 early in the game. The Fighting Maroons fought back to tie the game at 16 but by the end of the quarter, Ateneo nailed two straight treys to lead by 6.

With Ibrahim Quattara sitting out the second quarter due to foul trouble, Ateneo capitalized by attacking the paint and crashing the offensive glass.

Disparity in second chance points and rebounding were too much for State U as they trailed by eight at the half, 44-36.

After the break, Ateneo continued to penetrate the inside, led by Thirdy Ravena’s nine points in the quarter. Fouls and poor offensive possessions continued to plague State U, killing off any hope of a comeback. The Blue Eagles remained in control to end the third, 62-51.

During the fourth, the Blue Eagles started to blow the game wide open, with Ateneo rookie Tyler Tio scoring eight straight points to increase their lead to 19.

The Blue Eagles were never in too much trouble in the game and held on for a wire to wire victory, defeating the Fighting Maroons by 21, handing the team its first loss.

“That was a rude awakening”, coach Bo Perasol said. “More than anything else, we got out of focus.”

UP lost the battle on the offensive glass, 12-18, leading to a 24 point advantage for the Blue Eagles in second chance points. The Fighting Maroons also had more turnovers (20-17) while handing out less assists (11-8) than the Katipunan squad.

“That’s one thing we need to improve, getting rebounds and just lessen our turnovers.” Fighting Maroon Juan Gomez de Liano said.

The younger Gomez de Liano led State U in scoring with 16 points on 6/14 shooting, while starting point guard Jun Manzo chipped in 14. Paul Desiderio, the hero of Sunday’s matchup, shot a mere 4/18 from the field. Ravena led the way for the Blue Eagles with 16 points.

“It’s not even about the loss, it’s about how we lost the game”, Perasol said. “Move on na lang kaagad. We need to make sure they understand that we played lousily, and we paid for it. We lost badly but it happens. We move on to Sunday, and we have to have a better game.”

UP looks to bounce back against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors on Sunday, September 17.

UP cruises past TIP for first win

Photo and text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons dominated the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) Lady Engineers in straight sets (25-20, 25-9, 25-13) to grab their first win in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena, Monday.

Despite the absence of Marist Layug due to health reasons, the Diliman squad had no problems in handling the Lady Engineers as they maintained a comfortable lead throughout the match.

The first set would be the closest the Lady Engineers would get to the Maroons, only trailing by five at the end, 20-25.

UP continued to overpower TIP at the second. Sending a barrage of attacks against the Lady Engineers, UP’s lead ballooned to double digits as they took the set, 25-9.

Playing with a comfortable 2-0 lead in the match, UP continued to attack and TIP couldn’t seem to find any answers.

UP’s domination peaked at the third set, leading TIP 16-3 at the second technical timeout.

The Lady Engineers managed to salvage a few points off of State U errors but eventually lost the third, 13-25.

The dominating win is the first for UP at the PVL Collegiate Conference and provided a much needed confidence boost for the team.

“Malaking impact samin nung natalo kami ng Adamson, sobrang gusto naming bumawi” UP skipper Tots Carlos said after the game.

Carlos led the Diliman squad with 14 points while Isa Molde chipped in 12 markers, including six service aces.

On the other hand, no Lady Engineer scored in double digits. Ashley Jinon led TIP with six points.

UP cruises past TIP for first win

Hoping to build on the momentum, UP is set to face NCAA volleyball champions De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Lady Blazers next Monday, Sept 18.

Desiderio dagger three pierces UST

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Jedd Pagaduan

With a dagger three from the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons skipper Paul Desiderio, State U took their first win of the season against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 74-73, today in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Fighting Maroons were down by two with five seconds to go, and Desiderio had only one thing in mind – to win the game.

It was a slow start for the Fighting Maroons as the Growling Tigers raced to an early nine point advantage, 4-13, behind a barrage of layups. The España-based squad attacked first-year center Ibrahim Ouattara on the pick and roll where he was unable to close out on the pullup as they led 19-11.

The Fighting Maroons would not let up, as they closed the gap down to one at the end of the quarter, 19-18.

By the second period, the two squads traded baskets, with no team gaining the upper hand. UP started to pull away from the Growling Tigers behind a stifling defense and a blistering pace on offense, going on a 12-4 run to end the period to lead UST at the half, 42-33.

As Ouattara sat down due to foul trouble, UST mounted a comeback. Led by Steve Akomo, the Growling Tigers attacked the inside, trimming UP’s lead little by little and took the reins near the end of the quarter, 50-51.

Offense of both teams came to a screeching halt during the final frame. It seemed as if the Fighting Maroons dealt a knockout blow, in the form of an Ouattara and-one layup that caused Akomo to foul out. But the Growling Tigers wouldn’t go down without a fight.

The Growling Tigers scored six straight snatching the the lead, 70-68. State U managed to take the lead courtesy of a Desiderio lay-up and Noah Webb sinking one out of two from the charity stripe, 71-70.

Being in the penalty situation, the Tigers were once again able to take the lead sinking three straight free throws, 73-71.

Showing nerves of steel despite struggling all game long, Desiderio drained a clutch trey to win the match, 74-73.

“Sabi ko sa sarili ko papasok ‘to,” the Maroon skipper said. “Nag-timeout pa lang si Coach Bo, sinabi ko sa kanila na pag open ako, ibigay niyo kasi ititira ko talaga.”

“Ang dami ko nang tinira eh, sabi ko, mahihiya pa ba ko eh last shot na, sayang naman,” Desiderio  said. “Sabi naman ni Coach Bo na pag open, ‘itira mo na’, so ayun tinira ko na lang din, buti na lang pumasok.”

Desiderio led UP with 17 points and nine rebounds. Overall, it was a balanced effort for the Fighting Maroons, a number of players chipping in to win the game.

Meanwhile, Marvin Lee paced the Growling Tigers in scoring with 20 points.

The Fighting Maroons look to build on this exciting victory on Wednesday, 4 pm, against the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles at the Araneta Coliseum. #

 

UP WBT drops season opener to UST

Photo and text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons dropped their season opener against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigresses, 58-85, today in the UAAP Season 80 women’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Diliman-based squad had to adjust after losing starting center and co-captain Therese Medina to an injury two days before the game.

UP played at pace with the Tigresses at the start of the game, trading baskets back and forth. They held a slim one-point lead, 7-6, by the middle of the period, the last time State U held the driver’s seat in the game.

UST managed to pull away before the end of the first, taking advantage of turnovers by UP. UST held an eight-point advantage by the end of the period, 20-12.

Taking momentum from their strong start, the España-based squad continued to drive to the basket to score. The Tigresses doubled up on UP, 28-14.

Despite efforts to cut the lead, turnovers continued to haunt the Diliman ballers as they struggled to get back in the game.

At the half, UST held a double digit lead, 44-33 courtesy of a buzzer beater two from Tigress Jem Angeles.

Determined to make a comeback, the Lady Maroons started strong at the third period. Tightening their defense and converting on their shots, UP made a 15-6 run to trim the lead to just a bucket, 48-50, after Carmela Bascon’s trey.

But UST was not about to let State U take the lead, scoring back-to-back threes to widen the gap once again. The UP rally erased by an 8-0 run to end the third for UST.

By the fourth period, the Lady Maroons ran out of steam as they converted only 10 points during the last quarter and eventually fell to the Tigresses, 58-85.

“I told the team na yan yung dating UP which we do not like anymore… what happened was we’re too happy about the lead na nakalimutan na namin na may trabaho pa,” UP Head Coach Kenneth Raval said about the third period, when UP was only down by two.

Only two Diliman ballers scored in double digits. Iriss Isip led State U with 22 markers followed by skipper Daphne Esplana with 12.

The Lady Maroons look to grab their first win for the season on Wednesday, September 13, against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

UAAP BOT board denies Ricafort, gives Ouattara go signal

Photo and text by Danine Cruz

Two days before the official start of the season, Rob Ricafort of the University of the Philippines (UP) is officially tagged ineligible by the UAAP Board of Trustees (BOT) due to age issues.

His ineligibility was initially reported Monday but UP pleaded his case to the BOT which is composed of the highest officials of member schools. Unfortunately, the decision remained.

UP head coach Bo Perasol confirmed the BOT’s decision Friday morning.

The ground cited for his ineligibility is the new new rule as follows:

“For purposes of age requirement, all college athletes shall not be more than twenty-five (25) years old by June 30 which is the end of the UAAP Season, except for old students and players who are previously enrolled in the same University.”

UP will be fielding a 15-man lineup featuring Malian Ibrahim Ouattara who was initially ruled ineligible but granted eligibility by the UAAP BOT in the same meeting.

Ouattara was originally tagged as ineligible due to reports of his failure to fill in the two-year residency rule required for foreigners.

Ricafort, who is currently 24 years old, will only be turning 25 in January 2018, a month after the basketball season. Unfortunately, the basis of the age requirement is the end of the whole UAAP season, not just basketball, which is on June 30.

Ricafort shared his disappointment with the ruling but kept his head high despite the news.

“It’s heartbreaking, but this isn’t the end. God has something greater for me. I’ll have more time to prepare for [PBA] D-League now. The team will do great regardless! I’ve been with them long enough to know that they won’t back down from anyone,” the power forward said to Tinig ng Plaridel in a text message.

Season 80 was the 6-foot-4 catalyst’s supposed first and last playing year but due to the ruling, he will not be seeing action at all.

 

UP drops PVL Opener against Adamson in five sets

Photo by Summer Padilla

Text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons fell short against the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons, dropping their Philippine Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference opener in five sets, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 9-15 at the FilOil Flying V Arena, Monday.

State U started the match strong and pulled away early in the first set. The Diliman-based squad took advantage of their opponents’ unforced errors and didn’t look back, cruising through the first, 25-17.

The second set, however, was a different story. It was AdU’s turn to stack the lead against UP, leading as much as 16-10 by the second technical timeout. A late rally by the Lady Maroons got them back in the set but the margin was too large to overcome. The Lady Falcons eventually took the second set, 25-21.

By the third set, the teams were neck and neck into the first technical timeout, 8-7 in favor of UP. State U eventually pulled away in the middle of the set courtesy of the heroics of Marian Buitre and finished with authority, winning the third 25-19.

With the 2-1 lead, UP looked poised to close out the match in the fourth set. However, the Lady Falcons weren’t going anywhere. The Lady Maroons trailed early and the deficit ballooned to 7, UP down 9-16 at the second technical timeout. Despite efforts from the UP squad to come back, AdU won the fourth, 25-19 and forced a fifth set.

Both teams went back and forth during the deciding set. UP held a slim one-point lead going into the first technical timeout, eventually finding themselves deadlocked with Adamson at 9-all. But the Lady Falcons fired a 6-0 run to finally take the match, 15-9.

“Di naman din [kami] nagkulang sa skills, more on mental talaga,” UP skipper Tots Carlos said about the game. It is of note that the Diliman team played without the presence of head coach Jerry Yee.

Carlos led the Lady Maroons in scoring with 19 markers, Buitre and Isa Molde also scored in double figures, 16 and 14 points, respectively.

“Alam natin yung pagkukulang natin, so pagtuunan natin ng pansin,” Carlos said.

Meanwhile, their male counterparts grabbed their first win in the Collegiate Conference. The Fighting Maroons held off a gritty De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Blazers in a five set thriller, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 16-14.

The Lady Maroons look to bounce back and get on the win column against the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) Lady Engineers next Monday, Sept 11.

 

UP fails to defend crown, bows out in semis

By Luisa Morales

Defending champions University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons failed to return to the finals, losing to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 2-1 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Thursday night.

The Diliman squad started the game on the offensive, bombarding the FEU defense with powerful strikes.

But it was the Tamaraws who drew first blood.

From a corner kick, FEU took the lead courtesy of a header from Rico Andes, 1-0 at the 22nd minute mark; however, the Morayta-based club had little time to celebrate.

Less than a minute after the goal, Maroon Kintaro Miyagi scored an equalizer off the rebound after teammate JB Borlongan cut through the Tamaraw defense.

With momentum on their side, the Maroons continued on the offensive with multiple attempts to take the lead. At halftime, the game remained at deadlock, 1-all.

Come kick-off for the second half, both squads looked to take the upper hand.

At the 56th minute, FEU broke the stalemate.

Despite efforts from the Maroon defense, Andes was able to put the ball at the back of the net to give the lead back to the Morayta squad, 2-1.

Unfazed by the lead, UP continued to attack coming up with numerous attempts and almost goals, but FEU did just enough to hold the lead until the final whistle.

Despite the loss, it was still a great season for the Maroon booters who will miss the services of graduating players Ace Villanueva, Ryan Fermin, and Season 78 MVP Daniel Gadia.

UP bids goodbye to Final Four, seniors

Text by Luisa Morales

Photo by Mark Kevin Reginio

Time has come for the curtain call.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons close their season with a loss, bowing down to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in three sets, 16-25, 16-25, 25-27, at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan, Wednesday.

In a heartbreaking loss, the Diliman squad failed to book a final four ticket; finishing the season with a 7-7 win-loss card.

UP kept it close at the start of the match, playing at pace with the Tamaraws. By the middle of the set, State U only trailed by 2, 16-14.

However, the Lady Tamaraws gained steam coming from the technical timeout. A dominating 9-2 run at end the set gave FEU a 1-0 lead, 25-16.

It was another neck-and-neck start in the second set, both teams scoring back and forth. The Lady Tamaraws held a single point advantage over UP, 8-7.

But another huge run from the Sampaloc-based squad helped them pull away from the struggling Lady Maroons. At one point of the set, FEU was up by 10, 21-11.

Despite a late run from UP, the deficit proved too big to overcome.

FEU took a commanding 2-0 lead, 25-16.

Trailing by two sets, the Diliman squad looked out of the fight. It was a slow start for State U at the beginning of the third set, with FEU up 4-0.

But a crucial run brought UP back into the set. Scoring six straight points, the Lady Maroons held a three-point advantage by the first technical timeout, 8-5.

Eager to extend the match, the Lady Maroons battled to keep themselves alive.

FEU was at match point, 24-21 but UP wasn’t going down just yet. Late game heroics from veterans Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon powered the Maroons to extend the set.

The whole arena was on their feet with the teams tied at 25-all. But questionable calls from the officials gave FEU the match, 27-25.

The loss signaled the end of the season for the Lady Maroons. And for veterans Bersola, Tiamzon and Princess Gaiser, everything has come to an end.

The match was the culmination of the trio’s career in UP.

Despite the disappointing loss, Tiamzon remains grateful for the opportunity to play for the Lady Maroons for five consecutive years.

“Wala kaming ibang masasabi kundi thank you sa limang taon na binigay niyo rin sa’min na pagtitiwala, sa limang taon na privilege to play for UP, ” she said.

Bersola, who regrets not being a hundred percent in the 14 games they played, believes that they were able to re-establish UP as a Final Four contender team, especially after they were able to enter the Final Four last season after missing the semifinals for 12 years.

“Siguro yung pinaka legacy namin is sinubukan talaga namin ibalik yung winning ways sa UP, the former skipper said.

Gaiser, who is now recovering from a torn ACL, takes pride in the fight her teammates showed.

She kept reminding her teammates to “play with passion and pride and play because you want to.”

The final games of the elimination on Saturday will feature a battle for the top seed between the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, while the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses will try to hang on to the third spot and eliminate the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs.

UP falls to UST in three sets, puts Final Four spot on the line

Text by Luisa Morales

Photo by Mark Kevin Reginio

Diliman fans are holding their breaths for the Final Four.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons failed to cement their spot in the Final Four in their first attempt, as they bowed down to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses in straight sets, 20-25, 21-25, 16-25, at the Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday.

The game started out tight, with both teams going at it. Neither team was giving up any ground, and the ecstatic crowd was at the edge of their seats with every rally.

It was neck and neck until the second technical timeout with UST up only by a point, 16-15, but the España squad pulled away late in the set with blocks and costly errors from the Lady Maroons to draw first blood, 25-20.

Things looked brighter for State U in the second set. Starting out strong, the Diliman team held a five-point cushion in the middle of the set, 11-6.

However, a barrage of attacks from the Tigresses proved too much for the Lady Maroons. UST dominated the rest of the set to take a 2-0 lead against UP, 25-21.

By the third set, the Maroon squad looked out of steam. Riding on the momentum of their 2-0 lead, UST pounded State U leading at one point by 10.

Despite a mini-run from State U courtesy of veteran Nicole Tiamzon, UST’s lead proved too big to overcome.

The Tigresses eventually won the match, 25-16.

Sophomore Tots Carlos led State U with eight points while Isa Molde and Tiamzon contributed seven markers each.

Ennajie Laure powered UST with 15 points, while skipper Cherry Ann Rondina followed closely behind with 14.

“They [UST] really played well, and it was, again, our errors that killed us,” UP Captain Ayel Estrañero said.

State U ended the match with 26 errors, five more than UST’s 21.

The Lady Maroons are set for a do-or-die match for a Final Four spot against Far Eastern University (FEU) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

“There is no time to be down after this game. Kailangan namin bumawi, kailangan gandahan ang training to gain some confidence going into Wednesday’s game,” the captain said.