With the pressure of their offseason success looming, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons edged out the University of the East (UE) Lady Red Warriors, 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12, in their season opener, today, February 16, at the Filoil Arena.
It was a dominant first set for UP as they quickly went up by as much as nine points, 15-6, after a Tots Carlos ace and errors from UE.
It was all State U in the final moments of the first with Maristela Layug securing the set from UE, 25-12.
Come second set, both teams went back and forth mid-frame, but service errors from the Lady Maroons caused UE to pull away with Mean Mendrez taking the set for UE, 22-25.
The Lady Red Warriors’ quick offense rattled the Diliman-based squad as they dropped the third set, 23-25, putting UE up two sets to UP’s one.
Carlos caught fire in the fourth set that put UP up 10-1, but was plagued with service errors. Isa Molde provided the much needed offense for the Maroons that gave UP a seven-point cushion, 21-14.
Jessma Ramos finally saw action off the bench to the delight of the Maroon crowd and ended the set with a runner for a fifth and deciding set, 25-19.
UE’s gritty floor defense proved to be a thorn on State U’s side making it harder for the Lady Maroons to break away, but it was Ramos who provided the spark off the bench and eventually gave UP the win, 15-12.
Isa Molde led UP with 23 points, followed by Tots Carlos with 17 points and Justine Dorog with 12 points, respectively.
Judith Abil paced the Lady Warriors with 20 points.
The Lady Fighting Maroons will face a tough test against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday, February 20.
Photo by Aira Juarez