UP ends four-game losing streak, takes over UE

Article by R.P.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons opened the second round of UAAP Season 84 with a hard-fought win against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, 25-23, 26-24, 25-17, at the Mall of Asia Arena on May 26.

Both teams carried over losing streaks from the previous round of play, but it was UP who found redemption after a close match against the UE squad.

For most of the first set, UP trailed behind the Lady Warriors, led by Lia Pelaga and Ja Lana with eight and seven points apiece. Efforts from Alyssa Bertolano and Niña Ytang pushed UP’s head above water, as both teams were in a tight match in the thick of the first frame. Ytang would end up with 13 points on 11 attacks and two aces after the game.

Even when UP found itself close to set point, UE was hot on the maroons’ heels. However, it was a net violation from UE’s Pelaga that cost them the chance to take the set.

The second frame was not a breather, however, as UE continued its chase on UP. The Lady Warriors even forced an extension, 24-24, after UP setter Marianne Sotomil committed a service error. But in the end, Bertolano and team co-captain Jewel Encarnacion delivered for State U.

“It’s been a while. Like any other team, we struggle, we have to find our rhythm,” said UP coach Godfrey Okumu. “We want to win, we want to win more games and that’s what we are doing,”

After two closely fought sets, UP was in a better position at the closing stretch. The maroons eventually found themselves in a 10-point lead at 21-11. The third set was marked with longer rallies between the two teams. 

But the Lady Warriors contended with back-to-back hitting mistakes, tallying 27 unforced errors in the game. Bertolano was not helping UE’s case either, as she chalked up 14 points and eight excellent digs throughout the match. Her unpredictable style made her player of the game, and State U the victor of this redemption faceoff.

The maroon shirts re-enter the UAAP Season 84 winning column with a 4-4 record, coming out fifth. Meanwhile, UE faced its eighth consecutive loss this season.

“The last couple of games, we didn’t play well. I hope that from now on we’ll continue fighting for better results just like today,” Okumu said.

UP hopes to secure their next win on May 28 against the UST Growling Tigresses, who carry a three-game victory streak.