MANILA, Philippines — Judy Caballejo delivered the final blow for University of Santo Tomas in a 25-22, 25-13, 12-25, 21-25, 15-9 outlasting of rival La Salle Sunday night in the 75th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Caballejo nailed the clutch hits down the stretch, including the game-clinching attack to finally put away the Lady Spikers and completely veer away from a complete meltdown.
UST was already well ahead 25-22, 25-13, but lost its bearing and yielded the next two straight sets to the defending champions.
Luckily, the presence of veterans Caballejo, along with Banaticla, neutralized the fightback of the Archers, who had Kim Fajardo guiding the offense, in the deciding fifth set.
UST’s win over La Salle was the first time in more than two years since its title-clinching 25-18, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15 victory in game two of the finals series.
It also capped a stellar UAAP women’s volleyball opening weekend at the Arena in San Juan, which had all matches going the distance.
Maika Ortiz added 13 markers, including four service aces, while Banaticla and Carmela Tunay had 10 points apiece for the Tigresses.
Reigning MVP Abigail Maraño and Mika Reyes, meanwhile, finished with 14 markers while Wensh Tiu had 13 points for the Lady Archers.
The opening day loss was also the first in recent memory for La Salle, after sweeping the eliminations on-court in the last two seasons.