Not up to the hype: NU eliminates UP from Final Four
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Despite having a successful preseason, the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons missed the Final Four for the third straight year.
The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs completed an elimination sweep of UP in a five-set thriller, 25-21, 26-24, 17-25, 23-25, 17-15, in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament on Sunday, April 14, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The eliminated Lady Bulldogs improved their record to 4-9 while the Lady Maroons dropped out of Final Four contention with a 6-7 card.
UP's loss automatically propelled Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas to the semifinals together with tournament leaders Ateneo and La Salle.
Princess Robles lifted the Lady Bulldogs in the final stretch until Audrey Paran sealed the cardiac game for NU.
Robles led NU with 20 points while making 17 excellent digs and 9 excellent receptions.
NU head coach Norman Miguel expected it to be a tough game from the get-go and admitted it got real when UP took the 3rd and 4th set.
But in the end, he said, there were many positives to take away from the win.
“With this result, masaya ako kasi may lumabas na character sa team namin,” said Miguel.
(With this result, I’m glad that our character as a team showed.)
Tots Carlos scored 18 points all from attacks to lead in UP in a heartbreaking effort.
The Lady Maroons blew their early lead in the opening frame as NU made a 5-1 run with Roselyn Doria on the service line, 15-11.
UP never recovered from the deficit as Joni Chavez nailed back-to-back service aces and the Lady Bulldogs pulled away, 20-14, that virtually sealed a 1-0 NU match lead.
The Lady Maroons managed to take the advantage midway through the 2nd with an 8-2 run, but Doria erupted for a personal 3-0 run that gave the the Lady Bulldogs a 19-18 edge.
Down the tight stretch of the set, Jessma Ramos nailed UP's first set point, but Robles extended the frame that saw Paran and Gelina Luceño close it out for a 2-0 match advantage.
UP kept its hopes alive in the 3rd set as they pulled away with a 5-1 run, 22-14. The last 4 sequences of the set saw a string of service errors that played to the Lady Maroons’ favor to extend the match.
The Diliman-based squad proved that it got its momentum back as it pulled away to set point, 24-20, but Isa Molde’s error sparked a 3-0 comeback from NU.
Captain Tots Carlos, though, halted the threatening NU as her attack brought the match to a decider.
As NU tied the score at 8-8, Bingle Landicho’s efforts in the service line gave the Lady Bulldogs a three-point cushion, 11-8.
But back-to-back attacks from Carlos and a block by Roselyn Rosier brought it back to a deadlock, 11-11. Even if NU nabbed match point first, a crucial error from Paran extended the match.
Paran, though, made up for it as she helped wrapped up the match with Robles. – Rappler.com