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Lady Maroons go for dream crown vs Lady Tams

/ 05:01 AM September 12, 2018

Marian Buitre is one of the three aces UP will lean on in Game 2. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

It’s been quite a long time since University of the Philippines won a volleyball crown.

But with the trio of Isa Molde, Marian Buitre and Roselyn Rosier fired up by a loud crowd that cheered them on in Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference finals, the Lady Maroons suddenly found themselves on the threshold of a dream finish.

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UP hacked out an unexpected 14-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-5 victory late Sunday to move closer to ending a long title drought. UP last won a UAAP volleyball crown in 1982.

“I was surprised. They were all cheering, the whole crowd. Everywhere I look around, there were (UP) fans. Where do they come from? I think from Diliman, yeah?” said UP coach Godfrey Okumu in jest.

“But it’s great. I really admire the fans. It gives me the drive, the purpose to serve the community and the people who love the game,” he added.

UP goes for a sweep on Wednesday against a still-dangerous Far Eastern U side at Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

The Lady Maroons know the title won’t get handed to them on a silver platter. They are expecting a fightback as tenacious as their rally from two sets down in Game 1 when they take on the Lady Tamaraws in Game 2 of their best-of-three series.

Gametime is at 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Maroons drew a combined 45 points from Molde, Buitre and Rosier and the three are expected to pour on the heat anew even as FEU deals with an injury dilemma with Celine Domingo, who remains a doubtful starter following her late exit in Game 1.

Domingo was forced to leave early in the fifth set after sustaining a knee injury. She never returned and the Lady Tams yielded the game, which they were heavily fancied to win after taking the first two sets.

Domingo finished with nine hits, four aces and three blocks with her continued absence sure to further bolster the Lady Maroons’ title drive.

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Still, the Lady Tams are going all out to force a sudden death with skipper Kyle Negrito guaranteeing a big FEU comeback. FEU coach George Pascua is also confident of his wards’ chances.

“I know my team. Like we did against UST (in the semis). I hope we’ll win Games 2 and 3,” said Pascua.

Meanwhile, National U also shoots for a sweep of the men’s crown as it tangles with UST at noon.

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TAGS: Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference finals, Volleyball
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