By Ernest Martin Tuazon
The UST Golden Tigresses (10–4) averted an upset from the also-ran UP Fighting Maroons (1–13) to bag the fourth seed to close the eliminations of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament, 25–21, 25–20, 22–25, 19–25, 15–6, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan on April 30, Sunday.
Without the services of best libero frontrunner Detdet Pepito due to dehydration, UST banked on the services of veteran duo Eya Laure and Imee Hernandez and rookie Regina Jurado to close out the Fighting Maroons in five sets.
Laure scored seven of UST’s 15 markers in the final set to lift the Tigresses towards their 10th season victory and to set a date with the DLSU Lady Archers in the final four.
Jurado nailed three service aces in the fifth set, while Hernandez gave UST the cushion it needed as she opened the salvo with three straight markers.
UP did not go down without a fight as they erased the Tigresses’ seven-point lead in the third set through a late 4–1 blast to extend the match, 22–25.
UP forced a fifth set through the offensive firepower of Nina Ytang and Steph Brustillo who combined for 31 total points in today’s five-set showdown.
Laure posted 28 points and 14 excellent digs to bolster her MVP campaign, while she received support from three double-digit scorers in Renee Penafiel, Hernandez, and Jurado who combined for 40 markers.
The UST Golden Tigresses look to keep their championship aspirations alive against the twice-to-beat DLSU Lady Archers in their final four opener on Wednesday, May 3, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.