UP Lady Maroons bolster Final Four campaign with takedown of NU
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons improve their chances of entering the semifinals of the 79th UAAP Women's Volleyball tournament after routing National University in 4 sets, 25-14, 25-27, 25-21, 25-12 on Sunday, March 26 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Tied at one set apiece, the Lady Maroons stopped a 9-0 run by their foes in the 3rd to grab a 2-1 lead in the match. They rode on built momentum in the following set as they prevented the Lady Bulldogs from coming close on the scoreboard.
The Diliman-based squad had a solid offensive outing, outscoring NU 42-25 in spikes. The Lady Maroons likewise kept pace with the 3rd best blocking team in the league, listing 16 kill blocks compared to NU's 13.
Albeit today's victory was huge for his squad, UP assistant coach Rald Ricafort believes the Lady Maroons are still in the process of regaining confidence after dropping consecutive games.
"Medyo malaking tulong [ang panalo]," said Ricafort after the game. "Nasa process pa rin kami, hindi pa kami ganoon ka-confident."
(The win was a huge help. We're still in the process, we haven't regained our confidence yet.)
Kathy Bersola was awarded Player of the Game after posting 14 markers including 8 kill blocks.
Tots Carlos and Isa Molde had 14 apiece, while Marian Buitre added 12 points with 4 blocks and 4 service aces.
Aiesha Gannaban dished out 13 markers on 10 attacks for the Lady Maroons, who had 53 excellent digs in the match.
Team captain Jaja Santiago put up a game-high 18 points on 10 attacks and 7 blocks, while Aiko Urdas added 12 for the Lady Bulldogs.
The two teams, which are both in the running for a Final Four seat, now share a win-loss record of 7-5.
The Lady Bulldogs are slated to square off with Far Eastern University on Saturday, April 1, while the Lady Maroons take on the University of Santo Tomas on Sunday, April 2.
The Lady Bulldogs missed the services of head coach Roger Gorayeb, who had to attend his son's graduation today.
UP (3): Bersola 14, Molde 14, Carlos 14, Gannaban 13, Buitre 12, Estranero 5
NU (1): Santiago 18, Urdas 12, Nabor 5, Paran 4, Singh 3, Doromal 2, Sato 2