The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons have yet to find their footing in the UAAP Season 85 collegiate volleyball tournament after suffering a pair of sweep losses against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) last Saturday, Mar. 11, at the Philsports Arena.
Stuck in a rut
The UP Men’s Volleyball Team (UP MVT) remained winless in five outings after sinking deep against the UST Golden Spikers, 22-25, 18-25, 17-25.
It was not all gloom and doom for State U, though.
The Maroons had a dream start in the opening salvo, not until the Golden Spikers broke away from a 15-all deadlock, drawing offense from the left and right wings.
Two attack errors from UP eventually handed UST the set win. The miscues continued to hound the maroon-and-white in the second frame, which saw UST lead by as much as eight at 20-12.
The Maroons seemed to have found their groove in the third set as they displayed a better offensive flow, keeping pace with the Spikers at 9-all.
However, UP began to trail UST once more after committing three straight miscues, including a net violation and an attack error.
UP attempted a late-game charge with a 4-0 run but ultimately lost their hopes of extending the match as UST went all out in the closing minutes of the game.
Team skipper Louis Gamban paced UP with 11 points. Angelo Lagando, who led the team’s offense in their previous matches, settled for a quiet 10-point outing.
On the other hand, Rey De Vega and Josh Ybanez powered UST’s win with 13 points apiece.
The UP MVT will try to snap their losing streak as they go head-to-head against the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday, Mar. 19, at the Fil-Oil EcoOil Centre.
In a rough patch
Meanwhile, the UP Women’s Volleyball Team (UP WVT) absorbed their fourth loss of the season after bowing down to the UST Golden Tigresses in straight sets, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20.
The Maroons fought hard in the opening minutes, with Stephanie Bustrillo and Alyssa Bertolano taking charge of the team’s offense. But UST rode on the shoulders of a hot-handed Eya Laure to secure the set with a 25-17 tally.
It was a seesaw battle in the second frame, which eventually saw UST reach set point first at 24-22 before Bertolano went off-the-block to keep UP afloat.
However, bench spark plug Pierre Abellana drilled a crosscourt hit to send UP trailing two sets to none.
A revitalized Maroons squad launched to a 4-1 tally against the Tigresses early in the third set.
That proved to be the last time that UP would hold the lead as Laure carried the offensive load for UST in the ensuing plays to eventually seal the sweep win.
Bustrillo and team captain Jewel Encarnacion netted 10 points each for the Maroons.
Meanwhile, Laure dropped 14 points in the Tigresses’ bounce-back win.
The UP WVT will aim for a much-needed win against the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Sunday, Mar. 19, at the Filoil EcoOil Center.