University of the Philippines scored its first 3-0 start in five years after handing the Eya Laure-led University of Santo Tomas its first loss, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22 in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament, Tuesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Jhewel Encarnacion took charge in the win, scoring 16 points built on 13 attacks, two aces, and a block – her best outing so far in three games – to go along with 14 excellent receptions and 11 excellent digs. Alyssa Bertolano also continued her consistent game with 15 points on 10 attacks, three blocks, and two aces to help the Fighting Maroons to their first 3-0 start since Season 79.
“The credit goes to the players, they played their hearts out. We had a plan and our plan worked which I cannot share with you at this moment,” said UP head coach Godfrey Okumu after the win.
“It was not an easy game. UST is a very, very strong team, they are very experienced, and they have a good coaching staff who would know how to read a game. So, it’s a win yes, but it wasn’t easy for us. We really worked hard for this and I hope the girls will continue fighting the same way,” he added.
With UP ahead by just two points in the fourth set, Nina Ytang fired one through UST’s blockers before Jum Gayo converted from the service line to give the Fighting Maroons a 23-19 advantage.
Eya Laure kept the Golden Tigresses alive with two consecutive hits, but a drop from Alyssa Bertonalo put UP at match point. Laure once again rose high for UST to trim the lead back to two but was later on blocked by Lorie Bernardo and Bertolano for the win.
Bernardo, Ytang, and Jaila Atienza each had nine markers for UP while Marianne Sotomil dished out 10 assists in the victory.
On the other hand, EJ Laure’s 28-point outing founded on 25 attacks, two aces, and a block went for naught as the Golden Tigresses—who have not dropped a single set prior to this match—absorbed their first loss in three games to drop to a 2-1 standing.
No other player from UST scored in double digits as Donna Tuazon and Camille Victoria added nine and seven markers, respectively. Janel Delerio had 16 excellent digs and 15 excellent receptions while Magi Mangulabnan recorded 14 excellent sets.
UST will take on La Salle on Thursday at 6 p.m. while UP looks to bounce back against Adamson on the same day at 4 p.m.