Audrey Paran noticed a major change of colors in the National University cheering section.
“We were shocked that fans wearing green and yellow were cheering for us,” Paran said in Filipino.
Out of the title race and with little to fight for, Paran and the Lady Bulldogs fought like a trophy was at stake and doomed University of the Philippines’ season with a 25-21, 26-24,17-25, 23-25, 17-15 victory Sunday in UAAP women’s volleyball at Mall of Asia Arena.
Paran scored 15 points for NU, backstopping star Princess Robles, who fired 20 points as the Lady Bulldogs crushed the Lady Maroons’ Final Four hopes.
That meant free passes for University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern U, whose supporters were the ones cheering on NU knowing that a win by the Lady Bulldogs would have their school joining league-leading Ateneo and defending champion La Salle in the semifinals.
NU libero Jennifer Nierva, who accounted for 30 excellent digs and 27 excellent receptions, said the crowd support “hyped” them up.
“It’s like everyone wanted us to win,” she said.
The Lady Bulldogs improved to 4-9, while inflicting on the Lady Maroons their seventh loss in 13 matches.
That meant UST can now focus on a last-gasp bid for a twice-to-beat berth after the Tigresses turned back the Lady Tamaraws in the second game, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23.
UST’s victory avenged a first-round loss to FEU in a game where the Tigresses lost star sophomore Milena Alessandrini due to injury.
“We have a better ranking now,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes in Filipino. “I think we are assured of Final Four, but we want to finish the eliminations on a high note.”
Sisi Rondina fired 21 points for UST, which hiked its record to 9-4, just half a game behind La Salle in the final footrace for the second twice-to-beat incentive.
But to tab that semifinal bonus, UST must beat NU in its last game and hope that FEU defeats La Salle.
“Hopefully we can get a better ranking in the semis so we can really do our best,” added Reyes, whose charges were left out of Final Four the past two seasons.
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