UST roars, rips Ateneo

Eya Laure of UST attacks two Ateneo defenders during their Season 85 UAAP women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at Filoil EcoOil Centre. The Tigresses prevailed, 25-19, 25-23, 25-14. Photo courtesy of UAAP

University of Santo Tomas punished skidding Ateneo de Manila University, 25-19, 25-23, 25-14, for its second straight win in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Rookie Regina Jurado hogged the spotlight on offense while Eya Laure took a backseat in the Tigresses’ fourth win in six starts that solidified their hold of the solo fourth spot and sent the Blue Eagles to their fourth straight defeat in their worst start in 13 years.

In the first game, Far Eastern University banked on the hot-spiking of sophomore wingers Chenie Tagaod and Jovelyn Fernandez to shake off clingy University of the East in a five-set marathon, 25-19, 18-25, 25-12, 22-25, 15-5.

The lefty spiker, Jurado, blasted 15 points she plucked off 12 spikes and three aces including two in the closing 11-2 blitz of UST in the third set.

Laure finished with 11 markers hinged on nine attacks and was active on floor defense with 12 digs and six excellent receptions in the Tigresses’ sweet revenge over their tormentors in last year’s stepladder semifinals.

UST head coach Kungfu Reyes lauded his team’s fluidity inside the court and for limiting their unforced errors to just 11 compared to Ateneo’s atrocious 25 miscues.

“We’re able to execute our game plan with little miscues. Of course, we still have some things to polish especially in our middles,” he said. “But we’re happy we were able to overcome that and I think we have no service error today. It’s such a good feeling leaving the game with little unforced errors.”

After averting a late meltdown in the second set when they surrendered three set points, the Tigresses pounced on the Blue Eagles in the third to take a 137 lead.

Ateneo drew close, 14-12, but UST quickly answered with a barrage to close the 82-minute game.

The Blue Eagles fell to a 1-5 slate despite the 13-point effort of Vannie Gandler while Faith Nisperos and Lyann De Guzman had 11 markers apiece.

The Lady Tamaraws started off strong in the deciding frame after a fourth set meltdown, racing to a 6-1 lead before pulling away for good for their third win in six outings.

It was the 1-2 punch of Tagaod and Fernandez that provided the firepower in FEU’s revenge win over the same team that handed the squad an end of elimination round defeat last year.

Tagaod unleashed 18 kills, three kill blocks and two aces for 18 points and topped it off with good floor defense where she tallied eight of the Lady Tamaraws’ 29 excellent receptions.

Fernandez scored 22 points off 17 attacks and five kill blocks with 13 digs while Jean Asis assisted with 12 markers as FEU kept UE winless in six games.

“I’m very happy that in just the first round, I’ll be honest, the team has already exceeded expectations,” Lady Tamaraws coach Tina Salak said of her squad that already surpassed the disappointing 1-13 record last season.

“But since we’re already here, we can’t stop. We can try to achieve higher expectations but we have to continue fighting as a team and continue our journey this Season 85.”

FEU won its second five-setter match of the season following its stunning upset of Ateneo de Manila University last week.

The Lady Tamaraws looked poised to closing out the match in the fourth frame until the Lady Warriors made a run midway in the frame with KC Cepada hitting a kill for a 22-18 lead.

Tagaod cut FEU’s deficit to 23-21 but Cepada scored on an off the block kill to put UE at set point. The Lady Tamaraws saved a set point before Van Bangayan sent the game to a fifth set.

FEU was in full control of the fifth frame.

After Gerzel Petallo committed an attack error that cut the Lady Tamaraws lead to 10-5, she uncorked three points in the closing 5-0 barrage of the squad with Mitzi Panangin icing the match with a sharp hit.

Cepada posted 18 points, Bangayan had 17 while skipper Ja Lana had 14 markers for the Lady Warriors.

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