UP ends three-match skid, boosts Final Four bid with five-set squeaker over UST
The UP Lady Maroons score their fifth win in 12 outings to stay on track for the semifinals. Dante Peralta

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines ended its three-match skid, scoring an 11-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-18, 15-11 victory on Saturday to send University of Santo Tomas to its third straight loss in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Lady Maroons skipper Nicole Tiamzon and veteran Angeli Araneta scored 15 points apiece, while Vina Alinas added 11.

UP’s fifth win against seven losses boosts its chance of clinching one of the two remaining semifinal berths. Unbeaten league-leader Ateneo and second-running La Salle have secured the first two spots.

Rookie EJ Laure scored 20, team captain Pam Lastimosa and Mela Tunay had 14 each while Ria Meneses added 11 for UST, which is in danger of missing the semifinals for the third straight time with a 5-8 card and one match left in the elimination round.

“Finally, thank you,” said UP coach Gerry Yee, whose wards finally won a five-setter after three losses.

“We are better kapag ’di nage-expect,” he added. “Ang mga bata kasi so far ang tingin ko sa kanila hindi pa nila kaya ang pressure. Masydong maraming iniisip, masayadong maraming ine-expect probably. Nalimutan na maglaro na ‘yung simple lang.”

The Lady Maroons had a slim 4-3 lead in the final set before launching a 6-3 run to widen the gap, 10-6. The Tigresses inched closer 10-11 but Ria Meneses sent the ball out from the service line, 12-10.

Service specialist Hannah Mangulabnan was sent in and immediately scored two aces to push UP to match point, then Tiamzon scored on a cross court hit to seal the win.

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