UP survives ferocious FEU, bags crown via Finals sweep
University of the Philippines, riding on a slow-burn campaign all conference long, rocketed in a burst of brilliance all the way to its first ever championship Wednesday night.
UP employed its brand-new system to capture the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference title via thrilling 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13 victory over Far Eastern University at Filoil Flying V Centre.
It was the Lady Maroons’ first volleyball title in 36 years, and one that was won on their first ever finals appearance in the league.
But it was not without some scary moments.
FEU, a veteran of many finals battle, made a gallant comeback from two sets to none and 0-8 in the third set to bring what appeared to be short and lopsided match to a five-set drama.
The Lady Tamaraws even threatened to give the Lady Maroons a dose of their own medicine—UP clawed back from the same two-set deficit to win Game 1—by taking a 12-6 lead in the fifth frame.
Isa Molde played like the Most Valuable Player that she is, firing 23 points including the go-ahead point, 14-13, in the fifth set before Ayel Estranero hit a service ace to clinch the title.
“We tried to lift each other and tell ourselves that we can do it,” said Molde, who also won the MVP of the Finals and the First Best Open Spiker awards.
“We are very happy because this is for the coming UAAP,” said Molde in Filipino. “In the end it was not just me but the entire team.’
The Lady Maroons needed a short time to impose their fluid, highly systematic brand of game crafted by Kenyan mentor Godfrey Okumu, taking the first two sets with seeming ease.
Molde and Roselyn Rosier took turns inflicting damage from left flank and in the second frame alone, UP outscored FEU, 16-5, in attacks.
Adamson beat University of Santo Tomas, 15-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-19, to tie their own series for third at 1-1. But since the finals ended, the Lady Falcons bagged the bronze via quotient.
Molde was surprised when she copped MVP award earlier in the day.
“There are a lot of better players out there,” said Molde, who was also named Finals MVP. “I would like to dedicate these awards to my teammates; of course I can’t achieve this without their help.”
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