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EJ Laure delivers late as UST outlasts Ateneo to advance to PVL Finals

EJ Laure took charge late as the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses took down the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in five sets, 20-25, 25-20, 25-17, 19-25, 16-14, to book the first Finals ticket in the 2019 PVL Collegiate Conference, Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Laure finished the match with 11 points, including the two of the last three points of UST in the fifth frame. She also tallied 13 excellent digs and 10 receptions.

“Talagang breaks of the game na lang. ‘Yun na ‘yung nag-matter nung huli dahil hanggang ngayon, error pa rin nila yung nagbigay sa amin ng puntos. Nage-error sila, nage-error kami, so ganun ‘yung naging trend ng laro,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes.

“’Yung pagkuha ng depensa, yung namamatayan ng bola galing sa depensa o galing sa atake, ‘yun ‘yung maganda naming natutunan ngayon kung… Na kapag nagpabaya ka, magkakaroon ka ng problema,” he added.

With UST ready to run away with the victory, a streaking Faith Nisperos unloaded hit after hit to halt the Tigresses. Ateneo then extended the win-or-go-home match-up to a decider.

In the final set, EJ scored back-to-back kills to give her side a 2-0 advantage. But Ateneo were quick to douse the run as they quickly locked the scores at 4-all.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair from there, as both squads exchanged points which led to a 13-all deadlock. The elder Laure then took over, delivering an emphatic attack to put UST at match point.

Not wanting to give up easily, Nisperos answered right back with a kill to knot the scores once more. Ej, however, spiked it off the block, placing the Tigresses a point away from entering the Finals.

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Ponggay Gaston then overcooked an attack, sealing the victory for the España spikers.

Eya Laure carried the scoring load for UST with 21 points founded on 17 hits, three aces, and a block. Imee Hernandez and Janna Torres chipped in 14 markers apiece, while team captain KC Galdones provided nine markers.

Maji Mangulabnan dished out 16 excellent sets to steer the offense, while also tallying four markers.

On the other hand, Nisperos’ 23-point outing went to waste as the Lady Eagles dropped to the bronze medal match.

Erika Raagas had 11 points, while Jules Samonte finished with 10 markers on a losing cause.

UPDATE: UST will face fellow UAAP contenders Adamson Lady Falcons in the Finals. The best-of-three match-up begins on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ateneo face the Benilde Lady Blazers in the third-place decider.

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