UP stuns FEU, gives Adamson edge in Final Four race

Myke Miravite
University of the Philippines pulled off what could be the biggest upset this year as they tamed Far Eastern University, while National University had to bring out their A-game as they scraped past Adamson University in four grueling sets

SPOILERS. The University of Philippines women's volleyball team celebrates a rare win over FEU. Photo by Josh Abelda

MANILA, Philippines – Already out of contention this season, University of the Philippines pulled off what could be the biggest upset this year as they tamed Far Eastern University, 26-24, 25-16, 16-25, 25-19, in the 76th UAAP Women’s Volleyball tournament on Sunday, February 9, at The Arena in San Juan City.

With only one playoffs slot up for grabs, the loss comes as a double black eye for the Lady Tamaraws as they allowed Adamson University to overtake them for fourth place in the table while the Maroons take only their second win in 13 outings this season.

Katherine Bersola put on her best performance in her college career as she led UP with her 20 points off 14 attacks and 6 blocks before the Final Four contending Morayta-based crew.

“Today we finally believed in ourselves and we finally did it,” Bersola said shortly after the game. “This win will come as a good thing in our preparation for our future leagues and for the next season.”

The Lady Maroons, eyeing to end a 5-game losing skid that extended all the way to the first round of eliminations, found their groove early as they nipped a shell-shocked FEU side to take the first, 26-24.

The second set was relatively an easier one for UP as they rushed to a 16-9 bubble helped by FEU’s mountain of errors that handed a two-set lead to the Maroons, 25-16.

FEU, however, fought back in the third as they rained shots on UP from every angle to prevent a Maroons sweep, 25-16, and send the game to a fourth canto.

Knowing that they are on the verge of a big upset, UP relied on their efficient blocking this afternoon as they wrapped up the game via a 25-19 fourth set takeaway to the delight of the Lady Falcons, who are also in the arena to face National University in the next game.

Struggling in almost all their games this season, UP’s scorers were able to produce today with Angeli Araneta, Sheeka Espinosa, and Monica Ortiz each finishing above 12 points. On the other end of the court, meanwhile, Bernadette Pons tallied in the game-high 22 points but lacked support with no other Tamaraw scoring in double-digits.

Losing two games in a row now, FEU drops to fifth with a 6-7 slate and will face Ateneo de Manila in their last elimination round assignment this season. UP on the other hand, will try to ride their momentum as they face University of the East, whom they beat in the first round, to end the season with 3 wins versus 11 losses.

Photo by Josh Abelda

Lady Bulldogs weather gritty Falcons in four sets 

MANILA, Philippines – Playing catch-up to league-leaders La Salle, National University had to bring out their A-game as they scraped past Adamson University in grueling four sets, 15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 34-32, in the 76th UAAP Women’s Volleyball tournament, Sunday, February 9 at The Arena in San Juan City. 

Four Bulldogs finished in double digits as they bagged their 12th win and stay half a game behind De La Salle University despite the tough challenge Adamson gave them in their penultimate match in the elimination round.

Sheila Pineda once again caught fire as she high-scored in the game with 25 but her efforts were not enough as NU cashed in on their balanced scoring with Dindin Santiago scoring a team-high 21 markers while Myla Pablo, Carmina Aganon, and Jaja Santiago finished with 14, 14 and 12 points respectively.

After barging into the top four after Far Eastern University was walloped by University of the Philippines, the Lady Falcons soared high early on as they made short work of NU’s first set defending, while also scoring eight points off their foes’ errors, to take a one-set lead, 25-15. 

With a trip to the final four at stake in their last two games, Adamson gave all they got as Pineda and Mayette Zapanta combined in the hotly-contested second set but they crumbled to pressure in the tail-end of the frame, committing unforced lapses to hand NU the set, 23-25.

NU then rallied behind its ever-reliables as Aganon and Pablo provided the Santiago sisters with ample support to take the third set 25-20.

Both teams engaged in an electrifying see-saw fourth set battle as the Falcons and the Bulldogs exchanged attacks all throughout with Aiko Urdas tying the frame at 23-all.

With their backs against the wall, Pineda and Zapanta scored back-to-back for Adamson to lead by a hairline, 27-26.

After Dindin tied the game only to commit a crucial service lapse in the following play, Pineda once again towed the Lady Falcons to a 31-32 advantage, scoring back-to-back hits, but the younger Santiago and Pablo came up with the knockout blows to finally end the fourth,

34-32 and keep in pace in the race to the top of the table.

Zapanta and Marleen Cortel also broke double-digit scoring for Adamson, tallying in 14 and 11, but the Lady Falcons sorely missed the scoring of Faye Guevara and Amanda Villanueva who only had 8 points combined.

NU (12-1) will try to avenge their first round loss to La Salle (12-0) in their last outing of the eliminations while Adamson (6-7) will define their fate against University of Santo Tomas (4-8), also in their last assignment and will hope that Ateneo (8-4) beats FEU (6-7) for them to grab the final playoffs ticket. – Rappler.com

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