Molde-less UP survives UE threat, stays on Final Four track

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Even without stalwart Isa Molde, the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons managed to stay on track of their bid for a Final Four berth.

UP turned back a valiant University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors in 5 sets, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11, in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday, April 3, at the Filoil Flying V Centre. 

UP improved to 6-4 for a share of 4th place while UE fell on the verge of getting booted out of playoff contention with a 2-8 record. 

Marian Buitre stepped up for the injured Molde and led the team with 19 points off 16 attacks and 3 blocks.

UP held a narrow lead in the 5th set but finally pulled away behind Jesma Ramos, 12-9.

After a Tots Carlos block brought UP within a point of a win, UE saved match point twice before the Lady Maroons captain scored a check to end the match.

Despite bouncing back from an Ateneo loss, the Lady Maroons are still not satisfied with their performance, especially after committing 36 errors.

Sabi nga ni coach, a win is a win pero ayun nga, if yung nakita niyo sa game, mga mistakes namin is mga wala lang sa position. I think we can do better,” said Carlos.

(Coach said a win is a win, but if you watched our game, our mistakes were just because we weren’t in our proper position. I think we can do better.)

Judith Abil and Me-an Mendrez combined for 45 points in a losing effort while Kath Arado made 35 excellent digs and 31 excellent receptions for the Lady Warriors.

UE was two points away from taking the opening frame, but the Lady Maroons unleashed a 5-0 run with Ramos on the service line to take the set. 

The Lady Warriors again had their 4-0 start erased in the 2nd set, but a UP collapse towards the end of the set sparked UE's own 5-0 run as Judith Abil's ace, 25-20, evened the match at one-set apiece. 

UE rode on its second-set momentum with a 6-0 start, but the Lady Maroons rallied back with a 9-3 run to take the lead, 13-11. The Lady Warriors stayed within reach to threaten the Diliman-based squad before Aeishalaine Gannaban's quick ended the set in favor of UP, 25-23.

It was a neck-and-neck battle until the end of the 4th set as Gannaban’s service error gave UE its second set point and Me-an Mendrez’ spike cruised through the block to extend the match to a decider, 26-24. –




Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.