The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons has successfully entered the win column once more after stunning veteran-team Laoag Power Smashers in four sets, 25-20, 27-25, 11-25, and 25-20, to snap their two-game losing streak in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference Monday night at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Nicole Tiamzon led UP’s charge with 15 points off 13 hits. Marian Buitre had 13, while Diana Carlos added 10. Rose Cailing produced 42 excellent sets in UP’s second win of the conference.
Both teams exchanged tough rallies in the first set, with UP taking control of the pace. The Lady Maroons led 16-13 midway, but Laoag, behind Kat Villegas and Gretchel Soltones, inched by just a point, 17-16. The Power Smashers had chances to take control, but UP, with Tiamzon, Bersola, and Molde leading, made efforts to keep Laoag at bay and emerge victorious, 25-20.
Despite being down by a set, Laoag showed no signs of slowing down in the next set, even posting a 19-15 lead late. However, the Lady Maroons found ways to crawl back and even sent the frame to a deuce at 24-all. Laoag tried to regain momentum, but failed once more as Tiamzon nailed back-to-back hits from a 25-all knot to send UP up 2-0, 27-25
The Lady Maroons played off in the third set. With errors and miscues holding them back, Laoag capitalized on UP’s lost play, feasting on the latter’s weak defense both on the floor and on the net. As a result, the Power Smashers, from a 16-11 lead midway, blasted to a monstrous 9-1 spree sparked by drops and hits from Aiko Urdas and Wenneth Eulalio to live one more set, 25-11.
UP regained their bearings in the fourth and last set. Despite a slow start in which they trailed early, the Lady Maroons came back and took the lead, 16-10. From there, UP led all through out down the stretch, not allowing Laoag to run back again as Tiamzon delivered consecutive kills to close the match in favor of the Lady Maroons, 25-20, and post their second win in five outings.
“We just played our game,” said UP head coach Jerry Yee in his team’s victory, which sends them to a 2-3 record. “Sabi ko naman sa kanila play without pressure.”
Soltones led Laoag and all scorers with 18 points, while Urdas made 12 in a losing effort.
UP (2-3) will have Balipure as their next opponents this Saturday, October 22, at 4 PM, while Laoag (2-2) will face another college team in UST this Wednesday, October 19, at 6 PM.
UP (3) – Tiamzon 15, Buitre 13, Carlos 10, Bersola 9, Molde 9, Cailing 5, Chopitea 1, Ramos 0, Dorog 0, Gaiser L, Estranero L.
Laoag (1) – Soltones 18, Urdas 12, Eulalio 10, Galanza 9, Villegas 8, Saet 5, Prado 3, Guillema 0, Sta. Rita 0, Galang L, Eroa L.
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