September 02, 2018 at 09:15 pm
Manila Standard Sports
Isa Molde broke a two-game slump with a brilliant 27-hit performance in a sudden death match, powering University of the Philippines to a stirring 25-19, 29-27, 20-25, 25-20 reversal over top seed Adamson U and into the championship round of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan yesterday.
Molde, who struggled for eight hits in the opener of their best-of-three semis series and put in a nine-point show in Game Two, struck when the Lady Maroons needed her most, unleashing a number of crisp crosscourt hits while adding four kill blocks to her outstanding performance.
With Molde on the firing end, the Lady Maroons took the first two frames, outlasting the Lady Falcons in a thrilling, extended second set duel, then bounced back from a third set defeat with a strong finish in the fourth to complete the fourth-seeded squad’s rise to vie for a championship in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
“We’re very happy that we got what we wanted,” said Molde.
UST and FEU were disputing the other championship slot in another rubber match at presstime. Game One of the finals, another best-of-three affair, begins Sunday.
The Lady Falcons, who swept the single round elims of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics but dropped a 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 25-20 decision in Game One, came out flat a day after forcing a “rubber” via a 25-23, 25-19, 25-21 triumph last Saturday.
But they fought back strong in the third to stall the Lady Maroons’ sweep bid but blew a 16-15 lead in the fourth with sloppy plays, enabling their rivals to string four straight points to gain control at 19-16 capped by Molde’s power hit.
Refusing to give up, Adamson pulled to within, 18-19, on an Eli Soyud crosscourt hit but Molde countered with her own kill and UP took five of the last seven points to clinch the set and the match on a Marian Buitre’s vicious baseline spike.
In men’s play, UST withstood Adamson’s furious fightback and pulled off a 25-15, 16-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-8 victory to sweep their best-of-three semis series and clinch the first slot in the finals.
But top seed National U bounced back from its series’ opening loss and stopped Far Eastern U, 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, to force a sudden death in their side of the semis duel.
Bryan Bagunas blasted in 30 hits, including 27 attacks, and came through with 15 excellent receptions and six digs while Kim Malabunga and Francis Saura combined for 28 points for the comebacking Bulldogs.
FEU drew 16 points from Redijohn Paler while JP Bugaon finished with 13 markers with the Tams hoping to recover in time for the rubber match on Wednesday.
In contrast, the Tigers kept the momentum of their Game One win, 25-18, 25-22, 16-25, 32-30, to oust the Falcons with Manuel Medina turning in another superb all-around game of 19 points, including 16 kills and two aces, and 29 excellent receptions and five digs.