MANILA, Philippines — The UP Lady Maroons pulled out a come-from-behind victory over the UST Lady Tigresses, 11-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-18, 15-11, to stay in the hunt for a Final Four slot in the UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday, February 14 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
UP, which was led by Angeli Araneta’s 15 points on 14 kills, found its groove in the last two sets, forcing the decider and staying composed in the final moments of the fifth for the cardiac finish.
The Lady Maroons, who rose to 5-7 after the win and are just half a game behind NU and Adamson, breathed life into their Final Four hopes while the Tigresses are in a precarious situation as they slid to a 5-8 slate.
Only two Final Four slots remain as defending champions Ateneo Lady Eagles and last year’s finalists De La Salle Lady Spikers are already in the semis.
UP bucked an inconsistent start to this game, falling in sets 1 and 3 with their energy going on and off on the court. They managed to take momentum midway in the fourth set with an 11-6 run after an 8-all count to build a 19-14 advantage.
The Diliman-based crew then put on a brave face in the short fifth set, taking charge from the beginning and putting UST in a dangerous 11-9 deficit.
The Tigresses, despite scoring key points, shot themselves in the foot with their own service errors, as the Lady Maroons’ Hannah Mangulabnan scored her lone two points off back to back service aces and tow UP to match point.
Team captain Nicole Tiamzon claimed the win and completed the upset with a powerful kill for her 15th and final point.
Vina Alinas added 11 markers, while Marian Buitre came up with 7 points including 5 timely blocks.
An equally inconsistent UST, which dropped its third straight game after a 4-game win streak bridging the first and second rounds, had rookie EJ Laure leading them again with 20 big points including 4 blocks.
UST went to Laure in the crucial moments but UP found ways to check her.
Mela Tunay and captain Pam Lastimosa each had 14 points while Marivic Meneses registered 11.
The Tigresses’ final match of the eliminations will be against the hapless UE Lady Red Warriors, while the Lady Maroons still have two other Final Four hopefuls FEU and NU as their last assignments. - Rappler.com
Photo by Josh Albelda
This Originally appeared in Rappler.com, by Jane Bracher