Niña Ytang steered University of the Philippines to a 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 victory over University of the East in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
Ytang dominated above the net and fired six points in the Fighting Maroons’ pivotal 9-1 rally in the fourth set, which gave them a comfortable 20-12 cushion.
She finished with a match-high 20 points on 12 attacks, seven blocks, and an ace in the victory.
“Siyempre very thankful kasi unang panalo ng team and siguro ang dami pa ring naming mga kulang kanina pero kailangan naming ma-appreciate kung gaano ka-okay yung ginalaw namin kanina,” said Shaq delos Santos after earning his first victory as UP head coach.
The Lady Red Warriors closed the eight-point gap to within four, 19-23, after three consecutive errors from the side of UP. Then Dara Nieva committed an attack error that placed the Fighting Maroons at match point.
KC Cepada tried to keep UE afloat with a cross-court attack, but Alyssa Bertolano answered back with a cross-court hit of her own to help UP log its first win.
The Fighting Maroons overcame an error-plagued fourth set that saw them commit a total of 16 errors. They tie Far Eastern University at the sixth spot with identical 1-2 records.
“Una ganun kami kabait,” said Delos Santos in jest. “Ayun nga, 16 errors so trabaho pa kami hanggang sa maibaba namin siya nang maibaba. Part naman yun ng process namin sa pagbuo ng team na ‘to so accept lang kami and then trabaho lang.”
Stephanie Bustrillo added 16 points on 10 attacks, three blocks, and three aces for the Diliman-based spikers while Alyssa Bertolano had an all-around outing of 10 points, 11 excellent receptions, and six digs.
The Lady Red Warriors and the Fighting Maroons had a close encounter in the opener. However, the latter managed to pull away late with Ja Lana unleashing an off-the-block hit that put her school ahead, 24-22. Stephanie Bustrillo saved a point, but Vanessa Bangayan closed it up with a cross-court hit.
UP fought back in the second set and took a commanding 22-13 lead late before taking a 25-18 win to even the game. It eventually earned a 25-19 win in the third to gain a 2-1 advantage over UE.
Ja Lana finished with 14 points on 14 attacks to go along with 10 excellent digs. Bangayan had 13 points for the Lady Red Warriors, who fell to 0-3 in the standings.
UP will go up against defending champion National University on Wednesday at 4:00 PM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Meanwhile, UE looks to chalk up its first win when they take on De La Salle University earlier that day at 10:00 AM.