UAAP Volleyball

UST rides Laure’s hot hands anew, ousts FEU to complete Final Four cast

JR Isaga

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UST rides Laure’s hot hands anew, ousts FEU to complete Final Four cast

DO-IT-ALL. UST star spiker Eya Laure saves the ball at the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

UAAP leading scorer Eya Laure pours in 28 more points, while Detdet Pepito anchors the defense in UST's Final Four-clinching win over a promising FEU squad

MANILA, Philippines – The UST Golden Tigresses booked their return trip to the UAAP women’s volleyball Final Four after a four-set win to eliminate the feisty FEU Lady Tamaraws, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16, 25-23, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, April 23.

With the win, UST rounded out the semifinal cast of top-ranked La Salle (11-1) – which claimed the first twice-to-beat bonus – defending champion NU (9-3), and the resurgent Adamson (9-4).

The Tigresses also stayed on track for the last remaining twice-to-beat advantage with a 9-3 record, while FEU missed the cut after a valiant effort at 6-7 – five wins more than the season prior.

Season 85 leading scorer Eya Laure added 28 more points to her ballooning personal tally off 23 attacks, 3 aces, and 2 blocks, while partner-in-crime Imee Hernandez followed up a 24-point eruption with 19 off 16 spikes and 3 rejections.

Best Libero candidate Detdet Pepito shored up the defense with 21 excellent digs and 19 excellent receptions as rookie setter Cassie Carballo added 17 excellent sets and 4 points.

Unfazed by a rout loss in Set 3, FEU stood its ground midway through the fourth with a 17-14 lead off a Jean Asis ace. However, UST fired off a pivotal 5-0 response, capped by back-to-back Laure aces to seize a 19-17 lead and swing momentum back to the Tigresses’ side.

Although the Lady Tamaraws saved two match points following a Laure crosscourt kill, 24-21, UST again turned to its captain to save the day and clinch the last Final Four spot with a game-winning off-the-block shot for the narrow escape win.

“Thank you Lord, that’s what we can say,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes in Filipino. “B7 (Pepito) activated especially in the latter part of the game. We were looking for Detdet in the first and second set, so at least, B7 activated late.”

Over at the losing side, seven FEU players showed a glimpse of what’s in store for the future after scoring at least 7 points apiece, led by 12 from Mitzi Panangin and 11 from Gerzel Petallo.

UST now carries a four-game winning streak to its next blockbuster match on Wednesday, April 26, 11 am, against the defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs, which may very well determine which side will get the other twice-to-beat berth.

FEU, meanwhile, aims to end its overachieving campaign on a high note with one last upset against the Adamson Lady Falcons on Sunday, April 30, 11 am. –

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