“Iba na kami ngayon.”
These were the uttered words of confident coach Gerry Yee as UP managed to grab its first win of the season by defeating the UST Tigresses 3 sets to 1, 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17 in the San Juan Arena.
Both teams were neck and neck during the opening set as the two squads had multiple lead changes. The Lady Maroons had enough firepower at the end of the set though that enabled them to grab the opener.
Looking for a quick counter, the Tigresses rushed to a 9-3 second set run thanks to the steady serving of Carmela Tunay and early errors by the Lady Maroons. UP erected their juggernaut midway through the set and grab the lead. Down 19-23, UST unleashed six unanswered points through defense and eventually tied the game one set apiece.
Floor and net defense led to UP’s offense in the third frame as team captain Nicole Tiamzon anchored the blocks towards UST. Tiamzon, together with Kathy Bersola led the scoring as multiple spikes helped UP win another set against UST, which seemed rattled in the latter part of the canto.
Unlike their loss to NU with their fourth set breakdown, UP this time managed to get the job done by building a cushion and keeping UST at bay the entire set. Solid net defense propelled UP to widen the gap as Bersola capped the game with a kill.
In a wire-to-wire victory, Coach Yee expressed the different Lady Maroon squad this Season 77 compared to the UP squad in the past. He mentioned that this year’s team aims to play for the entire game and really play to win as one.
“Problem last year is di kami makasimula (previous seasons), lahat naman yan nagsisipag and they deserved the victory today,” he said.
Moreover, the victorious coach added that the Lady Maroons try to cover everything during practice. “Wala pa kaming singular identity like malakas pumalo, malakas magblock, or magaling dumepensa, unlike all the other teams sa UAAP. Kami, we’re trying to find our identity. We try to cover everything, opensa, depensa, services, palo, lahat.”
Tiamzon led UP with 19 points including 3 blocks while Bersola added 16. Rookie Ennajie Laure’s 19 markers paced the Tigresses, which dropped another game after their heartbreaker against La Salle.
UP’s next assignment will be up against La Salle in which they seek to end the Lady Spikers’ winning streak. On the other hand, UST will face defending champions Ateneo Lady Eagles. Both games will be on Satuday, December 6 at the San Juan Arena.
UP – Tiamzon 19, Bersola 16, Araneta 14, Ilustre 9, Alinas 5, Lai 3, Mangulabnan 1, Magtalas 0, Gaiser (L) 0, Estranero (L) 0
UST – Laure 19, Lastimosa 13, Meneses 9, De Leon 7, Tunay 6, Cortez 5, Cabanos 2, Pacres 1, Verutiao 0, Rondina 0, Rasmo (L) 0