UP, FEU break logjam as UST vies to stay on track

MANILA, Philippines – The race for a Final Four spot gets heated on Saturday, April 6. 

Tied at 6-4, University of the Philippines (UP), Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) vie to stay inside the top 4 behind leader Ateneo (9-1) and defending champion La Salle (7-3) in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament. 

UST looks to avoid an upset against a University of the East (UE) team that's fighting to stay alive in the playoff race at 2 pm, while UP and FEU vie to escape the deadlock in the second game at 4 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

UP has FEU's numbers since the preseason, so the Lady Maroons hope to keep it that way in a bid to keep their Final Four chances within reach. 

The Lady Tamaraws absorbed a serious straight-set beating from the Ateneo Lady Eagles as they played minus injured rookie and team top scorer Lycha Ebon

Although UP likewise lost stalwart Isa Molde to an ankle injury, the open spiker is set to return with Marian Buitre even riding on a hot momentum. 

The Lady Tamaraws, though, remain determined to bounce back from a sorry loss to Ateneo where FEU's scoring sources like Ivana Agudo, Heather Guino-o and Celine Domingo – who wound up scorless after averaging 11.9 points in the season – got shut out.

UST, on the other hand, may have failed in its mission to sweep defending champion La Salle, but a team with a vengeful Eya Laure is a squad that can't be messed with. 

Although Laure led her team with 20 points against the Lady Spikers, she rued that UST failed to sustain its opening-set momentum due to her errors.

But an equally motivated UE squad hopes to put up a fight as the Lady Warriors stand on the verge of falling out of Final Four contention. 

The Lady Warriors hope to bank on current league best setter Laizah Bendong, who has been opening up more attacking options in Judith Abil, Me-an Mendrez, Zilfa Olarve and middle blocker Seth Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez is also now the league's third-best blocker behind the Ateneo duo of Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino, while UE's Kath Arado has bounced back to reclaim her post as the tournament best receiver with a 60.87% efficiency while tallying 6.60 digs per set behind FEU's Ria Duremdes (6.93 digs per set). – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.