Rico helps UST fend off UP in UAAP men’s volleyball

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MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas had to survive a furious end-game rally to ward off  University of the Philippines, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 31-29, on Saturday in the UAAP season 75 men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Romnick Rico drilled in 23 points for the Golden Spikers, skipper Salvador Depante chipped in 17 points including the game-clinching block which ended a gruelling fourth set, 31-29.

Mark Gil Alfafara finished with 14 markers and Jason Sarabia added 12.

It was a shot in the arm for UST, which improved to 6-5, as it tries to separate itself from La Salle (5-5) for a spot in the final four.

Four Fighting Maroons registered double-digit outputs with Sam Paquiz churning out a team-high 16 points, but despite getting a much-needed production, the Maroons still only managed to snag a win in the third set.

Dominico Lucindo added 14 points, Evan Cruz 13 and Alfred Balbuena 12 hits.

UST bounced back from a heartbreaking 23-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 15-17, loss to rival Far Eastern University last Wednesday, where the Tigers had two chances to win in the deciding set but faltered as the Tamaraws proved the steadier team under pressure.

UP absorbed its eight setback in 10 outings, just barely ahead of bottom-dweller University of the East, 1-9.

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