UP strengthens Final Four bid, dominates NU

by Luisa Morales

The Lady Maroons are back with a vengeance.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons overpowered the  National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs as they win in four sets, 25-14, 25-27, 25-21, 25-12, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday.

The Diliman volleybelles dominated every aspect of the match, avenging their first round loss to Jaja Santiago and the Lady Bulldogs.

UP veteran Nicole Tiamzon did not see action the whole match, with reserve Aiesha Laine Gannaban starting in all four sets.

It was a great day for UP fans. The Lady Maroons were on fire from the get-go, taking advantage of the poor reception of their opponents.

Loaded serves and powerful spikes from the Diliman squad allowed them to cruise through the first set, 25-14.

But the Bulldogs weren’t afraid to bite back. The second set was tighter with both squads going back-and-forth until the end.

NU had a set point 24-23 but the Lady Maroons managed to extend the set. Despite UP getting a set point of their own, NU was able to win the set 27-25; tying the game at one set a piece.

By the third set, State U looked poised to dominate again. Great floor defense and attacking from the Maroons looked too much for NU to handle.

It was all UP as they led the set 17-5, but NU did not go down without a fight. With a stunning 15-3 run, they caught up with UP at 20-all.

The UP fans were at the edge of their seats as the set was suddenly within NU’s reach.

Key plays from State U, however, powered the Diliman-based squad to take a 2-1 lead, 25-21.

Unfazed by the fierce comeback of their opponents, UP came into the fourth set looking to finish strong.

NU looked tired as State U kept pounding the Lady Bulldogs with loaded serves, while UP veteran Kathy Bersola answered everything Santiago had to offer.

The Lady Maroons ended the match on a high note, dominating NU all throughout the set, 25-12.

UP finished the match with five Lady Maroons in double figures – Bersola, Isa Molde and Tots Carlos had 14 points apiece, while Gannaban and Ali Buitre chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Captain Jaja Santiago led NU with 18 points, followed by Aiko Urdas with 12 markers.

With the crucial win, the Lady Maroons tie the Lady Bulldogs at fourth place with a 7-5 win-loss card, and more importantly, keep their Final Four hopes alive.

UP is set to face the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses, currently at solo third, on April 2, at the Mall Of Asia Arena.

Undermanned UP booters power through UE, 3-1

by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons inched closer to defending their crown as they outlasted the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 3-1 at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field, Thursday.


The Diliman team emerged victorious despite playing without captain Daniel Gadia, Ace Villanueva, and Ian Clarino, who are preparing with the national Men’s U22 team, set to compete in the upcoming Southeast Asian games.

UP started the match hot, with Maroon JB Borlongan hitting a goal only four minutes after the opening whistle blew.

But the Warriors answered back just as quick.

Right after the restart, UE booter Regil Galaura raced past the Maroon defense to get the ball to teammate Mar Diano to even it up 1-1 at the fifth minute mark.

It was the Maroons who dominated the rest of the first half, Borlongan scoring another goal 13 minutes before half time to take the lead back, 2-1.

By the second half, UP did not seem to be content with a one goal lead.

At the 77th minute mark, Maroon Miggy Clarino’s shot bounced off the UE keeper, allowing Sean Patangan to guide the ball to the back of the net.

The goal further cushioned UP’s lead, 3-1.

The Diliman squad’s defense held their ground to keep UE goal less in the second half.

With the victory, the defending champions improve to 21 points as UP trails behind league leaders Ateneo de Manila University only by two points.

Still without their leaders, UP will take on Adamson University, Sunday at the Far Eastern University (FEU) field.

Lady Maroons fail to repeat sweep of La Salle

By Denver Del Rosario

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons are back on the losing end as they crumbled before defending champions, De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers in straight sets, 25-27, 11-25, 17-25, in the UAAP 79 volleyball tournament today at Filoil Flying V Arena.

After a strong showing in the first set, the Diliman-based squad eventually lost steam in the second and third sets as the Lady Archers took advantage of their reception woes.

“Andun pa rin yung errors sa first ball,” said team captain Arielle Estranero. “It’s normal to commit an error during the game pero lately, napapadami siya, and it’s something we have to work on in training.”

Majoy Baron led the onslaught for DLSU with 16 points—six of which are service aces–while Des Cheng, Kim Dy, and Tine Tiamzon contributed 11 each.

On the other hand, sophomore Isa Molde spearheaded the charge for the Lady Maroons with 12 points, while Diana Carlos added 11.

While the Lady Maroons played slightly better in non-scoring skills (digging, receiving, and setting), the Lady Archers outperformed them in the scoring departments (spiking, blocking, and serving).

The Taft-based squad proved their blocking prowess with nine block points over the Lady Maroons’ two. Moreover, the Lady Archers scored 11 points in the service department, while UP only registered a single point.

The Lady Archers surged ahead in the first set with a six-point lead, 4-10, courtesy of attacks from Dy and Cheng.

However, the Lady Maroons rallied in the later part of the set as they took the driver’s seat, 19-17, with an error from Kim Fajardo and a drop ball by Molde.

The Diliman-based squad had two set points at 24-23 and 25-24, but DLSU showed composure as they snatched the set, 25-27, via an error by Marian Buitre and a block by Cheng.

The Lady Maroons lost their energetic display as DLSU tallied a 10-point lead in the second set, 10-20.

An ace by Baron and an error by Buitre finished the set in favor of the Taft-based team.

In the third set, the Lady Archers built a six-point lead midway, 8-14, courtesy of attacks by Baron.

The Lady Maroons tried to claw back, 12-15, via a Carlos spike, but DLSU scored four consecutive points from an attack by Dy and three aces from Baron, 12-19.

The Lady Maroons eventually failed to stage a comeback as Baron closed the game with a block on Nicole Tiamzon.

With the loss, UP sinks deeper in the team standings with a 5-5 win-loss card, tied with the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in fifth place.

For their four remaining games, Estranero looks to maintain a positive outlook.

“Siyempre, tuloy lang ang laban,” said Estranero. “The fight is not yet over. We just have to build our confidence from the past few games and we can’t let this game affect us.”

The Lady Maroons will next face the Adamson University (ADU) Lady Falcons on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

(Photo taken on Feb. 11, 2017, first-round match between UP and UE.) 

ADMU sends UP to fourth-straight loss in one-sided Battle of Katipunan

By John Remil Isaga and Luisa Morales

Gone are the days when the UP Fighting Maroons were the top contenders for the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Championship.

After losing star libero Princess Gaiser to a career-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear, the dispirited Maroons were handed their fourth straight loss in a dominating sweep (15-25, 14-25, 15-25) by the Ateneo Lady Eagles in the opening bout of the second round at the Araneta Coliseum, Sunday.

The Diliman-based fan favorites never got their rhythm going as they were handily dismantled by their neighboring sisters.

The Lady Eagles were dominant in almost every aspect of the match, completely overpowering the Maroons in spikes, 44-24. Errors plagued the Diliman squad with ADMU getting 21 free points courtesy of State U.

It was not a good day for the UP offense either, with none of the Maroons getting double digit points.

In their lowest output in scoring of the season, Isa Molde led State U with only eight points. Jia Maraguinot shined the brightest of the Katipunan squad with 17.

With this loss, UP falls to sixth place after once going undefeated at 4-0. They will try to bounce back against the UE Lady Warriors on Wednesday, March 15 at the Fil Oil Flying V Arena, San Juan. #

Lady Maroons stay perfect against Lady Tigresses

Photo taken by Keith Jasper Magcaling during UP vs. UE Women’s Volleyball game, Feb. 11, 2017.

By Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons remained unbeaten as they edged out the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses in four sets, 25-22, 25-22, 29-31, 25-18, today in the UAAP season 79 Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

After claiming the first two sets, the Lady Maroons looked poised to maintain their spotless record with yet another sweep, but a couple of miscues gave the opening to the España-based squad to take charge and clinch a set off the Lady Maroons.

The Lady Maroons, however were able to recover in the fourth set to close out the feisty Tigresses. Diana Carlos and Isa Molde led UP with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, EJ Laure spearheaded the charge for the Tigresses, finishing with 18 points.

The teams were neck and neck in the first set with neither side getting an advantage over the other. However, a late run by the Diliman volleybelles and errors from their opponents saw the Lady Maroons take the set, 25-22.

It was the same story in the second set, a tight competition resulting in back and forth points for both teams. There were numerous deadlocks that lasted until both squads were tied at 22.

However, three straight points from the UP squad, including a service ace from senior Kathy Bersola at set point, gave them the 2-0 lead.

The Lady Tigresses did not back down as they began the third set strong, but the Lady Maroons fought their way back. Fans were going wild as both teams rallied back and forth in a thrilling set.

The Lady Maroons failed to convert four match points, and an attack error from Tots Carlos at 29-30, extended the match to a fourth set.

Determined to close the game, the Lady Maroons stepped on the gas in the fourth set. The UP squad pulled away from the Tigresses in the middle of the set, 16-10.

Despite hits from UST’s skipper, Cherry Rondina, cutting the lead to four, 22-18, UP was able to win the last three points, with a service ace from Isa Molde ending the match.

At 4-0, UP is now the only undefeated team in the UAAP. #