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UST survives UP, boosts semis hopes



University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses survived a five-set thriller against the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 17-25, 15-9 to boost their semifinals chances in the Shakey’s V- League Collegiate Conference quarterfinals at the FilOil Flying V Arena, Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Maroons capitalized on the Golden Tigresses’ poor reception late in the first set to run away with the victory. Justine Dorog and Diana Carlos led the charge, and buried UST in a set where both teams kept things close in the early parts.

In the second set, the Golden Tigresses played catch-up in the early frame. Behind EJ Laure, Jessey De Leon and Ria Meneses, UST was able to take the lead at 16-15 in the second technical timeout. Afterwards Laure, Meneses and De Leon went on an attacking spree as the errors of the Lady Maroons helped them to tie the set at one apiece.

With the Lady Maroons in the driver’s seat at 20-19 in a tight third set, De Leon scored to tie the game at 20-all. Carlos answered back for a 21-20 lead for UP. The Golden Tigresses scored two straight points to take a 22-21 lead. UP had some gas left in the tank, as Dorog and Carlos scored to give the Lady Maroons a 23-22 lead. Luckily for UST, Carmela Tunay, who returned from a three-game absence due to a fractured nose, as well as Laure, stepped up to give the third set to the España-based squad.

The Lady Maroons blasted the Golden Tigresses in the fourth set, with Marian Buitre unloading two service aces to give the Lady Maroons a 12-11 lead. The Diliman-based squad relied on Isa Molde, Dorog and Carlos to completely dominate UST in the set. The Tigresses struggled to find answers for the offensive onslaught of the Lady Maroons as the match extended to a fifth and deciding set.

With Meneses and Tunay leading the charge, UST quickly pounced on UP as they took a 5-1 lead at the beginning of the fifth set. The Lady Maroons were able to close the gap behind Carlos and Dorog’s attacks for an 8-5 disadvantage. UP committed errors late in the set that allowed UST to establish a 14-9 lead. The set ended with Tunay scoring on a down-the-line kill to end the intense match.

After the game UST coach Kungfu Reyes proclaimed that the team’s errors once again caused the team to struggle to dispatch the young and talented Lady Maroons. “Sa dami ng mali na ginagawa namin, namimigay kami ng puntos sa kalaban,” he said.  Moreover, the rookie coach commended the Lady Maroons in playing beyond their age. “In terms of age parang walang pinagkaiba. May talent ang bata ni Coach Jerry [Yee] hindi mo makita ang lamang ng experience ng team ko,” Reyes closed.

Reyes was also glad that Tunay is now back she helps add depth to the bench. “Since bumalik si Carmela [Tunay], lumalim ang bench namin, bunot kami ng bunot,” Reyes added.

Laure led UST with 15 points, 12 points coming from attacks and two via blocks, while Tunay chipped 11 points in her return.

Carlos top scored the Lady Maroons with 21 points, 16 points coming from attacks, along with six service aces, while Dorog and Molde contributed 17 points each.

The Golden Tigresses will continue their quarterfinals campaign against the National University Lady Bulldogs on August 30 at 12:45 PM, while the Lady Maroons’ next assignment is against the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers at 3:00 PM at the same day in the same venue.

The Scores:

UST (3) – Laure 15, Tunay 13, Meneses 10, Lastimosa 9, De Leon 6, Sandoval 3, Teope 2, Cortez 1, Verutiao 1, Cabanos 0, Rasmo (L), Hachero (L)

UP (2) – Carlos 21, Dorog 17, Molde 17, Buitre 7, Chopitea 2, Layug 1, Basarte 1, Lai 1, Alinas 0, Gaiser (L), Estranero (L)