UE, Perpetual withstand foes to kick off Shakey’s Super League campaign
MANILA, Philippines — University of the East and University of Perpetual Help opened their respective Shakey’s Super League campaigns on a high note after surviving separate foes on Saturday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Lia Pelaga and Dara Nieva led UE’s balanced attack to edge Mapua University in five sets, 31-33, 25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12, for their first win in Pool A.
Pelaga showed the way to the Lady Red Warriors with 18 points. Nieva delivered 17 points, while setter Von Dimaculangan didn’t only provide brilliant plays for UE, but she also scored 16.
Rookies KC Cepada and Erin Navarro were also impressive for UE as they delivered the crucial attacks in the fifth set and finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
“We had a shaky start and we were not playing our usual game. We allowed ourselves to play on Mapua’s pace instead of us dictating the tempo,” said UE head coach Ronwald Dimaculangan in Filipino.
“It was an ugly win but at least I saw in them the resiliency to bounce back. From here we’ll try to address our mistakes,” he added.
After failing to close out the game in the fourth, the Lady Red Warriors unleashed a 7-2 start in the decider before the Lady Cardinals tied the set, 7-all.
UE easily reached matchpoint, 14-9, with Cepada’s timely hits and Mapua’s four errors. Hannah de Guzman’s ace capped the Lady Cardinal’s 3-0 run to trim the lead to two, 14-12, only to commit a crucial service error that handed the win to their opponent.
Alyanna Ong and De Guzman led the Lady Cardinals with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Trixie Gojol chipped in 15 points. Roxie Dela Cruz had 13 markers, while Nadine Berces and Princess Babiera added 11 each.
Mapua will take on the debuting University of the Philippines on Sunday at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Rookie Shaila Omipon made a rousing debut for Perpetual Help’s 24-26, 25-21, 25-23, 27-25.
The Lady Atlas’ prized recruit from Trece Martires scored nine of her 17 points in the fourth set to deliver her school’s first in Pool A of the collegiate preseason.
“Shaila is one of my rookies. Her game is very impressive. She played her heart out. She’s not playing like a rookie,” said Perpetual Help coach Sandy Rieta in Filipino.
When Perpetual Help went down 20-22 in the fourth, Omipon took matters into her own hands, scoring three straight points to tie the set, 23-all, before Jhasmine Sapin’s ace pushed them at matchpoint.
San Beda stole the matchpoint, 25-24, from Sapin’s service error and Marianne Tayag’s crucial attack. Omipon came to the rescue with back-to-back hits followed by Maxine Tayag’s costly attack error.
Early Pool A leaders Perpetual Help and UE will clash on Saturday next week at 2 p.m.
San Beda tries to bounce back against fellow opening day loser, Mapua, on Sunday next week.