Tigresses move closer to Final 4, boot out Tams

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MANILA, Philippines – Maru Banaticla came through at the most opportune time to help University of Santo Tomas beat Far Eastern University 13-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-21 to assure itself of at least a playoff for a Final Four slot in the UAAP Season 75 women’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.

Banaticla gave the Golden Tigresses, who eliminated the Lady Tamaraws from semifinals contention, a much-needed boost with 14 points on 12 attacks.

“Kailangan na kailangan talaga naming manalo (We need to win),” said Banaticla, who showed flashes of her old lethal form. “We put into mind that every point counts.”

“Maganda blocking and floor defense namin (Blocking and floor defense worked),” said UST head coach Ogie Mamon, whose team caps off its elimination round campaign against Ateneo on Sunday.

A win by National University over FEU coupled by a UST loss to Ateneo would merit a playoff between the Lady Bulldogs and the Tigresses for the last Final Four slot.

A UST win over Ateneo automatically assures the Tigresses of a semis slot even if NU beats FEU.

“We moved a step closer to our target but we still need to win our last game,” added Mamon.

UST trailed, 10-14, in the fourth set before going on an 8-1 run capped by a block by Judy Caballejo to make it, 18-15.

Carmela Tunay also had 14 points while Maika Ortiz added 11, including the game-clinching kill as UST improved to 8-5.

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