In one of the league’s best brewing rivalries, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons ended a five-year losing spell against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
UP began the first set flat but finished strong. After a 0-3 start, UP tacked on an 8-2 surge to finish off the Lady Tamaraws late in the opener. But after lineup adjustments, the Lady Tamaraws pummeled UP in the second set, taking a 23-15 lead.
The third set saw a close finish, as FEU rallied to trim UP’s three-point advantage down to one, 21-20. Isa Molde then gave UP some breathing room with back-to-back conversions. Following an exchange of serve errors, Ayel Estrañero delivered UP the set with an ace.
After a tight opening sequence, UP hushed FEU’s offense with precision serving and floor defense. The Lady Maroons built a 13-6 lead and never looked back.
UP head coach Godfrey Okumu pointed out that taking down another contender was not easy, but gave them a boost of confidence.
“I said it on Saturday that nothing comes easy. The game was so hard. But we fought until the last minute. FEU is a good team. They keep on changing tactics, so you go with this plan, you find in between the game that they will change it,” he said.
“And that’s what gives us a lot of challenge from the position of where they’re gonna sub, to how they’re going to execute. It was a good win, and I hope we’ll continue the same in the next games to come,” the second-year head coach added.
Tots Carlos topped the Lady Maroons with 15 points off 12 attacks and three aces. Justine Dorog added 12 markers.
UP earned their first win over FEU since the second round of Season 76.
Rookie Lycha Ebon led the Lady Tamaraws with 16 points built on 13 spikes, two blocks, and an ace. Celine Domingo contributed 11 points.
Both teams play again on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. UP (2-0) will first take on on the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (1-1). Afterwards, FEU (1-1) face the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles (1-1).
UP (3) – Carlos 15, Dorog 12, Molde 11, Ramos 8, Bernardo 5, Gannaban 5, Layug 2, Buitre 1, Estrañero 1, Sotomil 1, Altomea (L)
FEU (1) – Ebon 16, Domingo 11, Guino-O 7, Ronquillo 7, Malabanan 4, Negrito 3, Villareal 3, Agudo 1, Carandang 0, Duremdes (L)