After a sluggish defensive performance in the third set, returning veteran Isa Molde rallied the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons past the rookie-laden University of the East (UE) Lady Red Warriors en route to its first win in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-17, today at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
Molde led all scorers with 24 points in a career-high offensive performance alongside Tots Carlos’ 15 markers.
Both teams went back and forth with scoring run exchanges in a highly contested opening frame, capped off by a strong attack from rookie Euricka Eslapor in favor of the Diliman-based squad, 25-23.
Blocking was the name of the game for State U in the second set as the Fighting Maroons successfully neutralized UE skipper Mean Mendrez and rookie Janeca Lana’s offensive firepower. Returning setter Rem Cailing, who missed the entirety of Season 81 to an injury, sealed the deal for the Fighting Maroons to take a commanding two-set lead, 25-20.
With their backs against the wall, UE took matters in their own hands and pummeled 17 attacks against UP’s vulnerable and error-plagued defense. State U had no answers to Lana and Mendrez’s one-two punch with 11 combined points in the third frame for an 18-25 victory.
Experience came to play for State U as the veteran trio of Carlos, Molde, and team captain Roselyn Rosier spearheaded the Maroons’ unstoppable run. UP came out swinging with an early eight-point run and never looked back to give the Maroons its first win of the season, 25-17.
Bouncing back from defeat
Following a tough loss from being swept in their season-opener in the hands of defending champions Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles, the Fighting Maroons only had one thing in mind heading into their next match – redemption.
“What we did was train – that’s what people do when they lose a game, they train. Second, we talked about it. As I said, we only played 10 percent of the game we know, we couldn’t pass, we couldn’t spike… It wasn’t easy for the team but I hope we continue to recover and move on strong,” said UP tactician Godfrey Okumu.
“Actually ni-remind kami ni coach na it’s a wake-up call for us. Binigay na lang talaga namin sa Ateneo and nag-move on kami,” Molde explained after a sorry loss in their recent match.
The Fighting Maroons will seek to start a win streak as they take on the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, one of the two teams they swept in the elimination round last season, on March 10, 3:30 p.m., at the MOA Arena.