It wasn’t the ending UP wanted as the Lady Fighting Maroons lost to the UST Golden Tigresses in four sets at this afternoon’s UAAP 81 matchup.
Despite the absence of veteran setter Ayel Estrañero due to illness, the Lady Maroons held their ground in the first set. Rookie Marianne Sotomil quickly eased in to her role as the lead setter in just her third game in the UAAP.
The Maroons held a slim lead throughout the first with UST trying to inch in, but scoring outputs from captain Tots Carlos and Justin Dorog, who had 6 and 4 apiece, kept the Tigresses at bay. UP secured the first, 25-20.
The Golden Tigresses had its claws out in the second. It was a close seesaw battle after the second technical timeout, but a more aggressive UST — with 14 attacks versus UP’s 11 — had the advantage. The Maroons’ 6 service errors proved costly as the opponents tied the match at one set each, 22-25.
The momentum carried over into the third with the Tigresses taking an early lead and wouldn’t look back. The team from España went into a rampage, leading by as much as 13 points.
But the UPWVT wouldn’t give up just yet. Led by Aie Gannaban, the squad went on a 5-0 run. However, strong plays by Eya Laure in the end gave UST the lead, 2-1, with a 16-25 win. UST led in attacks, 16 to 9.
The fourth quarter saw the same narrative for the Golden Tigresses. The experience and leadership of Estrañero was sorely felt in the last three sets of the match as the Maroons continued to struggle in the scoring department. UST eventually bagged the fourth set, 20-25, and the match, 3-1.
Only five players had scoring outputs for UP with Carlos leading with 22. Isa Molde and Dorog added 13 and 10. These were not enough to overcome the 22 by Minela Alessandrini and the 18 and 17 of Laure and Cherry Rondina.
The team hopes to bounce back with a complete roster as they face the De La Salle Lady Archers on Saturday (March 2), 4pm at the Araneta Coliseum.
UST vs UP
20 – 25
25 – 22
25 – 16
25 – 20