UNIVERSITY of the Philippines secured at least a playoff for the last Final Four spot after dispatching University of Santo Tomas, 17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
UP finished the two-round eliminations with a 8-6 (win-loss) record, half a game infront of National University which was set to play La Salle at the end of the round on Wednesday.
A victory by the Lady Spikers will hand the Lady Maroons a semifinal berth while an NU win will set the stage for a playoff for the final Final Four place.
UST finished the tournament on a losing note, missing the Final Four for the fourth consecutive season.
Rookie Isa Molde finished with 23 points, built around 16 spikes, three blocks and four service aces, while veterans Nicole Tiamzon and Kathy Bersola each had 10 markers as UP snapped a two-game losing skid.
Lady Maroons mentor Jerry Yee, however, was far from satisfied with the performance .
“Natatakot pa kami eh, late na naming na realize na mahirap palang mapunta sa ganitog situation ulit next year, so buti na realize pa rin,” he said.
“Kahit anong lectures natin, pangaral natin, remind natin, lahat naman ng tanong natin sasagutin nila ng tama eh (pero) pag nasa loob na ng court iba na ang kilos nila,” he said. “So talagang patient tayo, patient na patient.”
“Fluctuating, nakaka-frustrate paminsan pero kailangan mong tiisin eh,” he added. “So nandyan na best situation, inexplain mo, 'Eto, ang dami na nating chances,' kumbaga ang sagot nila yes and no pa rin. Buti lamang ang yes.”
UP could have secured the third spot if it didn’t lose its last two games. Now the Lady Maroons are still fighting for survival.
No wonder Yee still rues the missed chances.
“A lot of those games syempre nakaka-down ng husto,” Yee said. “Tapos andyan pa ang NU na wala kaming ginawa para matinag sila, nandyan ‘yung FEU na gusto sana nating makabawi and then UST pa muntik pa tayo manalo.”
“It is frustrating kasi nandyan lahat, training, support pero ang mabigat dyan ‘yung inaasahan ka ng community parang ano eh, psychologically mahirap dalhin,” he added.
But a victory by the Lady Spikers will hand the Lady Maroons a semifinal berth while an NU win will set the stage for a playoff for the final Final Four place.
Skipper EJ Laure made 20 points for UST while Sisi Rondina added 11 and graduating player Mela Tunay chipped in 12.
Aside from Tunay, Jessey de Leon, who scored the Tigresses’ lone block point, and Ingrid Reyes played their final game for the Espana-based squad.