By John Bryan Ulanday
TAKING inspiration from its counterpart in men’s basketball, the spirited University of the Philippines (UP) spoiled Eya Laure’s eruption for University of Santo Tomas (UST) with a 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22 win to stay unbeaten in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday.
Jewel Encarnacion flashed an all-around brilliance of 16 points, 14 excellent receptions and 11 digs as the Fighting Maroons improved to 3-0 for their best start since Season 79.
Alyssa Bertolano added 15 markers on 10 attacks, three blocks and two aces while Niña Ytang, Lorie Bernardo and Jaila Atienza had nine each in UP’s scattered attack.
“It was not an easy game. UST is a very strong team. They are very experienced and they have a good coaching staff who would know how to read a game. So, it’s a win, yes, but it wasn’t easy for us. We really worked hard for this and I hope the girls will continue fighting the same way,” said coach Godfrey Okumu.
UP previously defeated University of the East (UE), 25-19, 25-23, 25-23, and Far Eastern University (FEU), 25-12, 25-22, 24-26, 27-29, 15-11, for a hot start as the tournament’s dark horse.
In the second match, Chenie Tagaod sizzled for 20 points as FEU barged into the win column with a close 19-25, 25-15, 25-20, 17-25, 15-10 win over UE in the battle of listless squads.
Ms. Laure exploded for 28 markers on 25 attacks that went down the drain in the first defeat of Santo Tomas (2-1), which did not drop a single set in their first two wins against FEU and UE.
The Lady Warriors remained winless in three matches despite the efforts of Janeca Lana (20) and Ercae Nieva (19).