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MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in 13 games, the UE Lady Warriors earned their first win in UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball with a five-set breakthrough over the free-falling UP Fighting Maroons, 16-25, 25-21, 26-24, 19-25, 15-12, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Wednesday, April 26.
With the win, UE not only avenged its first-round loss to UP, but also sent the Maroons down to their 10th straight loss as both teams now hold identical 1-12 records.
KC Cepada led the emotional win with 19 points off 17 attacks and 2 blocks plus 14 excellent digs. Van Bangayan added 15 points and 17 excellent digs, while captain Ja Lana chipped in 10 points.
Coming off blowout losses in the first and fourth set, UE nonetheless stayed composed in the back-and-forth deciding frame, holding a late one-point lead, 12-11, off a Steph Bustrillo off-the-block hit.
National team prospect Rizza Nogales then hammered a crucial quick attack before UP committed a costly miscommunication that put UE at match point, 14-11.
Bustrillo only managed one off-speed score before Lana ended the game with one last crosscourt kill.
“Actually Ja is injured while playing, my setter is injured, Bangayan injured, Ky (Cepada) is also feeling something wrong. I just told them despite the odds, despite injury or illness, you have to perform at your best,” said UE head Jumbo Dimaculangan in Filipino.
“Good thing they delivered even though it’s five sets. A win is a win, we’ll take it. We’re happy we got that.”
Bustrillo led all scorers in the heartbreaking loss with 21 points off 17 attacks, 2 blocks, and 2 aces, while Nina Ytang scored 14 off 11 spikes and 3 rejections.
UE hopes to keep momentum high in its final game of the season with a giant-slaying opportunity against the top-ranked La Salle Lady Spikers on Saturday, April 29, 3 pm, still at FilOil.
UP, on the other hand, hopes to finally end its skid on Sunday, April 30, 3 pm, at the same venue against the Final Four-bound UST Golden Tigresses. – Rappler.com