In a season filled with upsets, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons joined the fray, handing the defending UAAP champs Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles a four set drubbing 19-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-22 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Maroons played marvellously to open the match but could not string together enough good rallies to quell the Lady Eagles. Every time UP tied the set, Ateneo went to team captain Alyssa Valdez to bail them out. Tied at 16, Ateneo finally managed to pull away, taking six of the next seven points, highlighted by consecutive Amy Ahomiro service aces. Leading 23-17, Ateneo surrendered two errors that caused a timeout, immediately responding to take the next two points and the set.
Errors spelled Ateneo’s doom in the second set. Unable to curb their miscues in passing and attacking, Ateneo let the Lady Maroons storm to a 20-12 lead. When the Lady Eagles managed to trim their errors, they made a late run. With Bea De Leon at the service line, Ateneo brought the lead down to four, 20-16, before UP responded with a wing play from Kathy Bersola. From there, Valdez compounded UP’s errors with vicious attacks to pull Ateneo to within two, 20-22. Faced with adversity, UP responded splendidly. Trading errors, UP’s lead went down to one, 23-22. They caught a break from a De Leon attack error. Taking full advantage, UP pulled a clutch dig to set up a Diana Carlos off-the-block smash.
The last two sets saw UP completely outclass the Lady Eagles. Unable to get a good pass, the Lady Eagles succumbed countless free balls and errors that allowed UP to cruise to big, insurmountable leads.
“La Salle showed us a blueprint on how to defeat this Ateneo team. So we just tried to execute it. We served long and hard, stopping Ateneo’s execution. Thankfully it worked for us,” said UP head coach Jerry Yee.
UP had four players in double-digits, led by rookie Isa Molde, who had 15 off 10 attacks, four aces, and a block. Fellow rookie Diana Carlos and veteran Nicole Tiamzon tallied 12 each, while team captain Kathy Bersola pitched in 10 markers.
Alyssa Valdez and Jhoana Maraguinot contributed 19 and 15 points respectively, while Bea De Leon tallied eight.
UP’s win marks their first against their Katipunan neighbors since 2007. This was also the first time Ateneo have lost back-to-back matches since Season 76, when they lost consecutive games to the De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the elimination round.
UP (5-3) next face the Adamson (3-5) Lady Falcons on Saturday, 2 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Ateneo (6-2) have the National U Lady Bulldogs (4-4) on Wednesday, 4 p.m. at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
UP (3) – Molde 15, Carlos 12, Tiamzon 12, Buitre 8, Lai 2, Alinas 0, Dorog 0, Gaiser (L), Estrañero (L)
ADMU (1) – Valdez 19, Maraguinot 15, De Leon 8, Ahomiro 7, Morado 4, Madayag 2, Gequillana 0, Tajima , Lavitoria (L), Tan (L)
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