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    Marian Buitre steps up as Molde-less UP Lady Maroons squeak past UE Lady Warriors

    Apr 3, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    UNIVERSITY of Philippines overcame a tough challenge from University of the East, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11, on Wednesday to regain its winning ways in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.

    With Isa Molde out due to a left ankle sprain, Marian Buitre stepped up and scored 19 points on 16 attacks and three blocks.

    Skipper Tots Carlos came up with the crucial points in the fifth set with a block on Mean Mendrez to put UP at match point, 14-9, before nailing the winning spike as UP bounced back from a loss to Ateneo.

    Carlos had 16 points, 24 digs and 24 excellent receptions.

    Marist Layug chipped in 15 points, while Ayel Estranero dished out 34 excellent sets on top of six markers as UP improved its win-loss record to 6-4, tied with idle University of Santo Tomas at No. 4.

    Coach Godfrey Okumu was glad UP managed to get the win despite 36 errors.

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    “The game today it was hard, it wasn't easy. As I've said before, nothing comes easy for us,” Okumu said, adding that they need to improve and complete a sweep of their remaining elimination-round matches.

    UP battles Far Eastern University (6-3) on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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    “We have to just work hard in every single point. And, again a win is a win, so I'm happy with the win.”

    Mendrez led UE with 23 points, Judith Abil had 22 points and made 29 digs and 19 excellent receptions, while Roselle Baliton added 10 markers. Libero Kath Arado had 35 digs and 31 excellent receptions for the Lady Red Warriors, on the brink of elimination with a 2-8 card.

    UE will fight for survival against UST on Saturday.

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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