University of the Philippines Lady Maroons ended their preliminary round stint with a straight-set win over Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers, 25-16, 25-20, and 25-10, to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference Monday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
UP’s victory in their final match of the eliminations sends them to a 3-4 record. Their only hope in making it into the next round is for Customs (3-2) and BaliPure (3-1) to go down with a similar 3-4 record to forge a playoff for the fourth spot in the semis.
Three Lady Maroons paced UP in tonight’s victory. Diana Carlos led all scorers with 14 points off 11 attacks. Team captain Katherine Bersola had 12, while Nicole Tiamzon chipped in 11. Rose Cailing provided 24 excellent sets.
Firing on all cylinders, the Lady Maroons turned a slim 8-7 lead early to a wide double-digit gap, 22-12, behind the contributions of Carlos, Isa Molde, and Tiamzon. The Lady Jet Spikers made a few points behind Joy Cases and Dell Palomata, but UP was too much as Carlos gave the final touches with kills to lift UP to a 1-0 set lead, 25-16.
Air Force fought back in the second set and made it a tight affair all through out, lagging by just a point, 16-15, midway. But they could not force a deadlock from that point on despite UP’s errors, as Marian Buitre, Bersola, and Carlos powered UP to a 9-5 scoring spree through a balanced effort on both ends to lead the match with a 2-0 advantage, 25-20.
Already up by two sets, the Diliman-based volleybelles went full blast in the last period, erecting a wide 16-7 lead after the second technical timeout. The Lady Jet Spikers received offense from Antipuesto to trim the deficit, 17-10, but the Lady Maroons sprinted to eight straight points built by the troika of Molde, Carlos, and Tiamzon to end their last match on a winning note, 25-10.
“Kung meant to be, e ‘di go,” said Bersola post-game, regarding the team’s slim chances of advancing into the next round. “Pero either way, may na-gain naman na kami from this experience. So okay na rin.”
No one from the Air Force roster scored in double figures but everyone fielded in made a point. Cases’ six points paced the Lady Jet Spikers in the loss. Antipuesto, Caballejo, and Jocemer Tapic each had four markers.
The Lady Jet Spikers, now down to 2-4, will try to redeem themselves as they face BOC Transformers this Saturday, October 29, at 6:00 PM.
UP (3) – Carlos 14, Bersola 12, Tiamzon 11, Molde 9, Buitre 4, Cailing 2, Layug 1, Chopitea 0, Romero 0, Estranero 0, Dorog L, Buitre L.
Air Force (0) – Cases 6, Caballejo 4, Antipuesto 4, Tapic 4, Pantino 3, Yongco 2, Palomata 2, Semana 1, Manzano 1, Papa 1, Crisostomo L, Balmaceda L.
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