Error-prone UP crumbles to UE in battle for school pride

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons closed out the penultimate day of eliminations with a pair of defeats to also-ran University of the East (UE) Red Warriors last April 26 at the Filoil EcoOil Center. 

Tough nut to crack

The UP Men’s Volleyball Team failed to solve the UE riddle this season as they absorbed another loss at the hands of the latter, 21-25, 21-25, 23-25.

Errors in crucial moments of the game took away any chance for the maroon squad to steal a set.

With the defeat, UP stands dead last in the standings with a 1-12 win-loss record. 

Both teams were neck and neck in the start at 14-all before the Red Warriors pulled away with a 5-0 run, capped by a JP Mangahis service ace.

Back-to-back hits from Ranz Cojolo and JV Malabanan helped trim the deficit to two, but UE’s balanced offense courtesy of Ralph Imperial sealed the deal at 25-21.

The maroons continued to trail in the second frame before Malabanan scored a crosscourt hit and an ace to tie the set at 19-all.

But two consecutive blocks on Angelo Lagando broke UP’s momentum before an Angelo Reyes quick secured the 25-21 set win.

State U tried to stand its ground in the third frame, even leading UE at 21-19 off a Daniel Nicolas ace and a Lagando placement shot.

However, UP’s lead proved to be short-lived as Imperial, who worked wonders in UE’s offense, set up Reyes in the final play for the victory. 

Team skipper Louis Gamban led all scorers with 14 points to go with 17 excellent receptions. Cajolo added nine markers in the loss. 

Meanwhile, Imperial dished out 18 excellent sets to help four Red Warriors finish in double-digits.

Error-laden outing

The UP Women’s Volleyball Team could not replicate their first-round win over the UE Lady Red Warriors, surrendering to the latter in five grueling sets, 25-16, 21-25, 24-26, 25-19, 12-15.

State U scored more in offense – 76 to the Warriors’ 63 – but the maroon shirts’ 38 unforced errors spelled the difference in the game that lasted for almost three hours.

UP still stands at seventh, sharing an identical 1-12 record with the bottom-seeded UE.

Off to a slow start, the maroons had to overcome UE’s four-point advantage to lead entering the second technical timeout, 16-14. 

The team never looked back, mounting a 9-2 run capped by a Dannica Celis ace to take the 25-16 set win. 

With momentum on their side, UP cruised to a 9-6 edge in the second frame, but UE responded with a flurry of attacks and aces to get ahead at 20-14.

A couple of UE errors along with a Stephanie Bustrillo power tip allowed the maroons to creep closer, but back-to-back hits by the Warriors eventually wrapped the set up, 25-21.

UP continued to display strong offense in the third set for an 18-15 advantage. However, a double-contact violation by Theo Bonafe and two straight miscues on the maroon defense handed UE the upper hand at 22-19.

Forcing a 24-all deadlock, the Warriors claimed their first set point via a Vanessa Bangayan hit before an attack error by UP’s Abi Goc put UE up by two sets to none. 

Niña Ytang celebrates after scoring a block against UE’s attacker.
Photo by UAAP Season 85 Media Bureau

The maroon hitters waxed hot in the fourth frame, with Mai Sotomil joining the scoring barrage with a monster block at 16-5.

UE tried to stage a comeback attempt, capitalizing on UP’s late blunders in the process for a 15-21 tally, but Goc ultimately forced a fifth set with a crosscourt attack. 

Both teams exchanged points in the decider, but a string of errors hounded the maroons’ shot at the lead. A Sotomil net touch and a wide Bustrillo hit gave UE match point before Ja Lana landed the game-winning hit.

Bustrillo paced the sorry loss with 21 points, while Niña Ytang added 14 markers including four blocks.

Senior player Goc finished with a double-double of 10 points and 15 excellent digs.

Meanwhile, Khy Cepada delivered 19 points to go with 14 digs to give UE their first win of the season. 

The Fighting Maroons look to end their season campaign with an upset win against Final Four-bound University of Santo Tomas on Sunday, April 30, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.