MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas leaned on the comebacking Angeli Tabaquero and veteran Aiza Maizo in a thrilling fourth set duel to beat Adamson, 25-18, 17-25, 25-17, 25-16, yesterday in a big start to its back-to-back title bid in the Shakey’s V-League at The Arena in San Juan.
The Tigresses, who thumped the San Sebastian Lady Stags to clinch the first conference crown of the league’s Season 6 last June, broke away from a tight fourth set skirmish marked by seven deadlocks as Tabaquero and Maizo came through with a kill and a block to shatter the 9-all count and regain control the rest of the way.
Tabaquero, who failed to see action in the last three conferences, delivered the last three hits for UST and wound up with 15 points, while Maizo topscored for the Tigresses with 16.
“We’re still adjusting since some of the players are playing for the first time. Even Tabaquero said she was nervous in the early going,” said UST coach Cesael de los Santos.
The Tigresses wrapped up the one-hour, 30-minute victory as Angelica Vasquez missed on her serve for the Lady Falcons.
The UST-Adamson match will be aired on NBN-4 starting at 2 p.m. today, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
After Adamson bounced back in the second frame to force a 1-all count, Tabaquero, Maizo, guest player Roxanne Pimentel and rookie Maru Banatiola combined in a big third set charge as UST outscored its rival, 19-5 to move within a set from the victory.
Jill Gustilo paced Adamson with 13 points while Angela Benting and Vasquez had 12 hits each for the Lady Falcons, who finished third in the first conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and backed by Mikasa, Accel, Mighty Bond and OraCare.
While Tabaquero dished out a solid game on her return, Banatiela made quite an impression as the former mainstay of the many-time UAAP girls champion team wound up with seven hits.
In the second game, Far Eastern University dominated University of the Phils. with its power game as it scored a straight-set 25-13, 25-23, 25-16 victory to join UST in the early lead.