The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons punched the first finals berth after dominating the De La Salle-Dasmariñas Lady Patriots in straight sets, 25-21, 25-12, 25-22, in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam, Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Despite the absence of Tots Carlos, the Lady Maroons were still impressive, as they creamed the Lady Patriots in just 68 minutes of play to advance to the finals.
Earlier, the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws stopped a woeful three-game skid, as they fought back from a 2-1 set deficit before denying the University of the East Lady Warriors in a five-set thriller, 14-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-18, 15-13, to end its elimination round with a 2-3 slate.
Coming off a frustrating five-set loss to Colegio San Agustin-Biñan last week, the Lady Tamaraws struggled early on against the Lady Red Warriors, who played without Meanne Mendrez due to swollen left knee.
Fortunately for them, they turned things around and survived a grueling one hour and 54-minute of battle.
Caryl Sandoval showed the way with 11 points; while Jessma Ramos and rookie Nicole Magsarile delivered eight hits apiece for the Lady Maroons, who finished the preliminaries with a 4-1 win-loss card.
Maristella Layug, Lorie Bernardo and Justine Dorog also shone with six markers apiece.
“It’s a good feeling to be in the finals. Being in the finals makes a team and a coach feel and learn how to win. And in the finals, it’s do or die, lose or win,” said UP head coach Godfrey Okumu. “You don’t have any option but to win. I hope it’s a good legacy – something we’ve started being in the finals and we’ll continue all the way to the UAAP.”
Carlos will return to action in the winner-take-all finals duel, likely against the unbeaten University of Santo Tomas, who only need to win one of their last two elimination games.
“I think we have a date with UST on the twelfth,” Okumu added.
Basilyn Delfin was the lone bright spot for the Lady Patriots with 13 points, as De La Salle-Dasmariñas fell to 0-3. The Lady Patriots will take on UST on Thursday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
The title match of this tourney is set on December 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena.