ISA Molde and Tots Carlos delivered the killer blows before Justine Dorog nailed the game-winning hit as University of the Philippines ended De La Salle’s three-game unbeaten run, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12, to force a share of the lead in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Maroons pulled away with an 11-8 lead in the fifth set from Molde’s back-to-back hits and Jessma Ramos’s service ace only for the Lady Spikers to tie it at 12-all from UP’s errors capped by back-to-back attacks from Jolina Dela Cruz and May Luna.
Carlos brought back the lead to UP with a cross court hit and reached match-point, 14-12, from Luna’s crucial attack error before Dorog nailed the game-winning hit that handed La Salle’s first loss and ended its 14-game-winning streak dating back to last season’s first-round loss to Adamson.
It was UP’s first win against De La Salle since their Season 79 first round match under former coach Jerry Yee’s tenure and the last playing year of Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola and Pia Gaiser.
Molde finished with 20 points off 17 kills and three blocks, while Carlos had 19 points, all coming from attacks, to go with 18 excellent receptions and 17 digs as the Lady Maroons forced a share of lead with the Lady Spikers holding identical 3-1 win-loss records.
Marist Layug was also instrumental with 11 points as well as Dorog who added eight markers, while setter Ayel Estrañero returned to action from missing last game’s loss to UST due to acute gastroenteritis and helped her team bounce back dishing out 38 excellent sets on top of four markers.
“It was a game of minds and courage and aggressiveness and at the end of it, I believe we are more aggressive than our opponents that’s why we were able to win,” said UP head coach Godfrey Okumu. “La Salle is a strong team. They’re not a team that’s easy to beat, they’re a strong team because of the discipline.”
UP will have a week-long break before taking on Ateneo (2-1) on Sunday next week back at the Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Spikers recovered from a 1-2 match deficit as Luna delivered the clutch hits in the fourth set to force a decider only to fall short in the fifth set and saw their three-game winning streak halted. The defending champions committed 37 errors compared to UP’s 29 miscues.
La Salle’s rookie Dela Cruz lifted the team with 19 points built on 14 spikes, four blocks and an ace including 11 excellent receptions. Aduke Ogunsanya had 13 hits, while Luna and Desiree Cheng added 12 markers each.
The Lady Spikers try to recover against UST Tigresses (2-2) on Wednesday.