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UP makes breakthrough, dispatches UE in four sets

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
UP makes breakthrough, dispatches UE in four sets
Abi Goc celebrates after scoring a point against the UE Lady Warriors in the UP Fighting Maroons' four-set win in the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
UAAP

MANILA, Philippines — The UP Fighting Maroons barged into the win column in the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament as they repulsed the UE Lady Warriors in four sets, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.

The Maroons bucked a slow start that saw the Lady Warriors strike first. But UP, whose players were sporting pink accessories to celebrate International Women's Month, rebounded well in the second stanza when their offense picked up steam with Nina Ytang leading the way.

Their lead ballooned to as big as nine, 20-11, capped off by a Stephanie Bustrillo ace. Ytang scored off of the block to clinch the set and tie the match.

UP rode the momentum into the second set as they zoomed to an early 5-0 start, which helped the Fighting Maroons pull away early, 13-6.

While a 10-4 run by the Lady Warriors within a point, 16-17, midway through the canto, the Fighting Maroons were able to churn out one more run of their own spearheaded by Bustrillo and spark off the bench Abi Goc to claim the 2-1 lead, 25-19.

Come the fourth set, an error-prone UP side kept UE afloat in the game as the score was tied, 11-all.

But a 6-0 run by UP helped the Fighting Maroons pull away in time despite giving away 16 points off their errors in that set alone to complete the close out and improve their record to 1-2.

"Siyempre, very thankful kasi unang panalo, kontra UE. Siguro marami pa rin kaming kulang kanina pero kailangang i-appreciate yung ginalaw namin kanina and hopefully mas mag-work hard kami sa mga susunod naming mga games," said UP head coach Shaq delos Santos.

The win came amid a flurry of distractions for the Fighting Maroons as allegations of mismanagement hound the team.

Ytang led three UP players in twin-digit scoring with 20 markers, including a season-high seven blocks. Bustrillo added 16 points of her own while Alyssa Bertolano tallied 10.

Goc, for her part, scored nine points in just three sets as a sub.

Ja Lana led the Lady Warriors, who fall to 0-3, in the losing effort with 14 points.

UP faces a tough test next as they face the NU Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday, March 8, while UE will seek their first win against the DLSU Lady Spikers.

In men's action, the UE Red Warriors turned back the UP Fighting Maroons in four sets, 19-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22.

Kenneth Culabat paced the 2-1 Red Warriors with 19 points. UP's men's team remains winless in three outings.

UE and UP also face La Salle and NU, respectively, on Wednesday as well at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

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