by David Tristan Yumol
The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of De La Salle University Lady Spikers, 25-18, 12-25, 18-25, 21-25, in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.
Rookie Diana Carlos was the lone double-digit scorer for the Diliman-based spikers with 14 points. Fellow rookie Isa Molde and skipper Kathy Bersola added eight and seven points respectively as UP slid to a 6-4 record in the team standings.
“We failed to stick [to] our game plan. Coach wants us to work on our first touch, which is the service and first ball. We don’t know what happened today,” Bersola said.
Things are looking good for the Maroons in the first set as they scored six unanswered points led by Carlos’ kills after being down 0-4.
The momentum continued when UP tallied its biggest lead, 24-16, mostly off aces from Nicole Tiamzon and Molde. They eventually closed the set with a seven-point lead.
A complete turnaround happened during the second set when the Archers started an onslaught of attacks to lead early, 8-3.
La Salle, eventually, made a huge scoring spree midway through the set with their 9-0 run to grab a commanding 15-point deficit, 21-6.
UP tried to get back on track by scoring five unanswered points at the homestretch of the set, 12-24, but failed to end it with a respectable act by committing a service error.
The third set exposed more of UP’s vulnerability as their spikes were not converted to points anchored by the impressive defense at the net of crowd darling Mika Reyes and team captain Kim Fajardo.
Spikes from Archer Mary Joy Baron also bared the defensive lapses of the Maroons especially on who will get the ball after the attack was made.
These mistakes were somehow corrected early in the fourth set when UP had good touches and benefitted from the aces of Hope Christian High standouts Molde and Carlos that kept La Salle’s lead to one, 7-8.
The Archers, however, capitalized on their attacks through the efforts of Kim Dy and Ara Galang to close out the win for the Taft-based spikers.
Despite the defeat, Bersola was optimistic that their performance in this outing was a learning experience for the team.
“I don’t want to feel this way anymore. That’s what I want to instill with my teammates. I don’t want to happen like in the past seasons when we pull away from the games that we know we are capable of winning,” she said.
Bersola added, “This kind of games will teach us our individual playing capabilities and what will lose to us if we give away the win to our opponents.”
Dy and Reyes both contributed 14 points while Galang added 12 points for La Salle.
Next game for UP will be this Sunday against University of the East, 2 pm, at the Philsports Arena.