By Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan

IN HUDDLE. The Lady Maroons plan strategy in between sets, going on to win their first game of the season (Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan)

The University of the Philippines (UP) leaned on veterans Angeli Araneta and skipper Mela Lopez to close out the University of the East, 25-16, 25-27, 25-23, 25-23, and notched their first win in the first round of the UAAP Season 73 Women’s Volleyball Sunday at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Maroons succumbed to a bunch of errors after the glitch-free opener, giving away 42 points compared to the Warriors’ 28, before finally closing them out in the fourth set.

“Medyo nagrelax kami tapos hindi na namin nagagawa ‘yung mga naiisip namin na tamang gawin,” said Araneta, who uncorked 21 points, all from attacks.

Lopez wound up with 14 attacks, two blocks, and two aces, while Pauline Genido and Eileen Quejas registered 13 and eight points, respectively.

Kite Rosale and Jimberly Dizon combined for 27 points to boost UE’s offense, but UP’s blocking gave them a hard time piling up more points.

The Lady Warriors took advantage of the Maroons’ freebies to extend and steal the second set behind Rosale’s lethal middle attacks.

UE repeated the trend in the third, but Lopez shattered their attempts to gain the lead.

They tried to send the game into a decider, claiming the lead late in the fourth, 22-20, behind Shiesa Nebrida’s back-to-back service aces.

Joyce Palad tied the score to 23-all as she stepped on the court for the Lady Maroons, putting pressure on the Warriors and finally ending the game.

FEU defeat in 1st game

Meanwhile, the men’s team lost their first game against FEU, 17-25, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25.

“The service reception is the one that made the whole game different… that’s the only adjustment that we will do,” said UP head coach Vip Isada.

Lloyd Belgado led the Maroons with 11 points, five coming from blocks, while team captain Jordan Arda had 10, all from attacks.

The Tamaraws had more errors, 29-20, but their dominance in attacks and services gave them a win in their debut game. JR Labrador finished with 22 points, Nestor Molate with 17, Paulo De Ocampo with 15, and Karl Dela Calzada with 10.

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