University of the Philippines unleashed a strong finishing kick in the fourth set coming off a heart-breaking setback in the third, hacking out a 25-18, 25-21, 32-34, 25-21 victory over Far Eastern U to force a sudden death for third place in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the Philsports Arena on Wednesday.
The Lady Maroons slugged it out with the Lady Tams in a see-saw battle in the fourth then took seven of the last nine points to turn an 18-19 deficit into a four-point win as they finally closed out the Lady Tams after barely missing completing a sweep.
Nicole Tiamzon and Isa Molde came away with 24 hits apiece while Diana Carlos added 12 markers and Marian Buitre and Rose Cailing combined for 12 hits as the No. 3 Lady Maroons, who lost to the National U Lady Bulldogs in the Final Four, dominated the Lady Tams in spikes, 68-54.
FEU asserted its might on the net, posting 10 blocks, twice more than UP, and scored six aces against its rival’s two but the Lady Maroons proved steadier in the end to pull off the one-hour, 48-minute victory in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Toni Rose Basas hit 19 points, Jerrili Malabanan struck with 15 hits and Remy Palma and Celine Domingo chipped in 11 markers apiece for the top-seeded Lady Tams, who bowed to the Ateneo Lady Eagles in the semis of the tournament backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
UP failed clinching it in three after blowing a big lead late in the set and three match points. Although the Lady Maroons also battled back from a couple of match points, the Lady Tams prevailed in the end of a pressure-packed duel.
But the Diliman-based squad toughened up late in the tightly fought fourth set and put on that strong windup to foil FEU’s bid to send the match to a deciding set the way Game One ended, 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 15-9, which the Lady Tams won.
Though their best-of-three series stood tied at 1-1, UP can clinch the bronze medal if National U sweeps Ateneo in their title clash later in the night.
A victory by the Lady Eagles, however, will force a decider both in the title playoff and third place duel to be played on Saturday, according to the organizing Sports Vision.