The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons had to recover from a sudden drop in play to avoid a shocking upset at the hands of the University of the East Lady Warriors, 25-19, 25-13, 21-25, 16-25, 15-8, to start their Season 80 campaign at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The new-look Lady Maroons — who played their first UAAP game without Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon, and Pia Gaiser — had a straight-sets win in hand before crumbling in the third and fourth periods. UP’s fluid play from the start of the match evaporated.
The Lady Maroons lost the last two sets due to errors and faulty reception. They most notably surrendered a 10-0 run fueled by Shaya Adorador’s serving in the fourth set, that buried them in a 13-21 hole.
UP recovered in the decider, racing to an 8-4 advantage and never looking back. UP’s new head coach Godfrey Okumu rued his team’s struggles on reception.
“We really struggled on passing in the third and fourth set. You can see that it was our biggest problem. We’re still working on that. UE really played well also. They worked really hard,” said the Kenyan tactician.
The Lady Maroons finished with 46 errors, comprising more than half of UE 90 total points.
Third-year team captain Tots Carlos led the Lady Maroons with 22 points, while her batchmate Isa Molde added 20 markers.
Libero Kath Arado towed UE’s floor defense with 30 digs and 21 excellent receptions. Judith Abil led the UE offense with 12 markers.
UP (1-0) next face the De La Salle University Lady Spikers (1-0) on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. UE (0-1) will try to recover against the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (0-1) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
UP (3) – Carlos 22, Molde 20, Dorog 11, Buitre 7, Ramos 7, Estrañero 4, Basarte 0, Cailing 0, Lim 0, Siao (L), Thai (L)
UE (2) – Abil 12, Mendrez 10, Rodriguez 8, Adorador 7, Baliton 5, Bendong 1, Lopez 1, Manabat 0, Santos 0, Sta. Maria 0, Arado (L)