After a slow start, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses dominated the rest of the way to overcome the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws for the second time this season, 17-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The first set saw UST’s offense fall to a sturdy FEU defense. The Lady Tamaraws gained a 20-13 cushion after consecutive blocks and aces. The Tigresses, however, turned things around in the second frame, breaking away from an 11-all deadlock to take a 16-11 lead thanks to Alina Bicar’s serving. UST’s lead swelled as FEU’s attempt at a comeback resulted in attack and service errors.
The Tigresses seemed to have control of the third frame after leaping out to an 11-4 lead. But FEU mustered a late comeback, scoring three straight to force a deuce, 24-all. An Ivana Agudo service error gave the UST back set point, which Ej Laure capped with a powerful smash off two blockers.
FEU slowly unraveled in the fourth set as UST took a 13-all deadlock and raced to a decisive 24-16 lead. FEU managed a short 5-0 spurt which forced UST into two timeouts, before Laure again capped the match with a down-the-line kill.
“‘Yun talaga ang kulang sa amin pa – ‘yung finishing. Sinabi ko nga sa kanila kanina na mag-relax lang kasi kami ‘yung lamang kanina noong endgame kaya wala dapat pressure sa amin. Execute lang kami. Simple volleyball,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “‘Yun siguro kailangan pa ma-develop sa mga bata.”
UST’s open hitter tandem of Ej Laure and Cherry Rondina led the way with 20 and 15 points respectively.
The Tigresses improve their record to 7-4 with three games remaining. A win on Wednesday against the defending champs De La Salle University (9-2) guarantees the España-based spikers at least a playoff for a Final Four spot.
Bernadeth Pons starred for FEU with 17 points, 15 receptions, and 10 digs, while Toni Basas managed 13 markers.
FEU drop to sixth with a 5-6 record. They take on the University of the East Lady Warriors (1-10) also on Wednesday.
UST (3) – Laure 20, Rondina 15, Pacres 9, Bicar 8, Meneses 6, Lastimosa 4, Cortez 3, Francisco 1, Viray 1, Rasmo (L), Rivera (L)
FEU (1) – Pons 17, Basas 13, Palma 12, Malabanan 5, Villareal 4, Negrito 3, Agudo 2, Guino-O 2, Atienza 0, Hernandez 0, Duremdes (L)