Lady maroons down Tigresses, sustain win run
University of the Philippines sustained its fiery form by walloping University of Santo Tomas, 25-22, 25-22, 29-31, 25-19, before a huge Sunday crowd to emerge as the solo leader midway into the first round of the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament.
Isa Molde, last season’s Rookie of the Year, took charge for the Lady Maroons with 14 points, including the ace that finished off the Tigresses in the enthralling two-hour, eight-minute clash at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
With erstwhile leader National U getting swept by La Salle, 27-29, 16-25, 21-25, in the second game, UP found itself all alone on top two weekends into the season.
“The key word for us has been maturity,” said UP assistant coach Rald Ricaford. “It showed in tight situations in the match. The girls really worked extra hard for the win.”
Diana Carlos backed up Molde with 18 hits, while Nicole Tiamzon added 13 points and 13 digs for the Lady Maroons, who drew 53 excellent sets and three service aces from libero-turned playmaker Ayel Estrañero.
It was another scintillating performance from the Lady Maroons, who showed poise late in sets to pull off a victory against one of the teams tipped to contend this season.
Carlos refused to get carried away by their performance, saying the Lady Maroons still have to put their errors to a minimum.
“We have to be more confident and consistent and at the same time minimize our errors,” said Carlos.
Stung by a straight-set loss to UP last Wednesday, the Lady Spikers vented their ire on the surprisingly lethargic Lady Bulldogs, who struggled with their reception that hurt their chances of generating solid attacks. The result paved the way for a three-way tie for second among La Salle, NU and Ateneo, which swept University of the East last Saturday.
Only Jaja Santiago finished in twin digits for the Lady Bulldogs with 13 hits.