University of the Philippines (UP) upset Ateneo De Manila University, 28-26, 25-23, 26-24, on Saturday to remain in the in the Final Four race in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Lady Maroons under coach Godfrey Okumu displayed tough resolve by crawling out of a 19-23 deficit behind the heroics of Dianna Mae Carlos. The win improved UP’s win-loss record to 5-8.
“I don’t know what to say. I just told them we will finish strong and we will do the same thing next game,” said the Kenyan coach Okumu during the postgame interview. “Thank you to all the fans. They never give up supporting us and we still need you.”
Carlos led UP with 18 kills and three service aces for 22 points. She scored the last point in the third set to seal UP’s win against Ateneo.
“The chance to enter the Final Four is still there. We just play through the pressure and think positive all the time,” said Carlos, who also drew 13 points from teammate Isa Molde.
Ateneo’s win-loss record dropped to 9-4. But the Lady Eagles still have a chance to secure a playoff berth for a twice-to-beat if they win against La Salle next week.
Katrina Mae Tolentino led Ateneo with 15 points.
In the first game, Far Eastern University (FEU) survived Adamson University in a grueling five-setter, 25-22, 25-27, 14-25, 25-22, 15-11, to claim a Final Four ticket with an improved win-loss record of 8-4.
After a disastrous third set, Bernadeth Pons lifted the Lady Tamaraws in the fourth and fifth set.
“The character of my players was tested earlier. I told them if they play with good attitude plus the desire and the decision making, the win will come,” said FEU coach George Pascua. “Even if they have the skills but lack mental toughness, I guess it will be hard for us.”
“I also told them not to show their opponents that they are demoralized because they will take advantage of that. It is more of psychological game,” added Pascua. “There is still also a chance for us to get a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.”
Pons had 20 kills for 22 points to lead FEU. Celine Domingo had 12 kills and six blocks for 18 points while Toni Rose Basas and Heather Ann Domingo added 16 and 12 points, respectively, also for the Lady Tamaraws.
Jemma Galanza scored 16 points to lead the Lady Falcons, who dropped to 5-7.
In the men’s side, defending champion Ateneo blasted University of Santo Tomas, 25-11, 25-21, 25-21, to improve to 10-2. De La Salle University beat UP, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, for a 5-8 win-loss record.
UST dropped to 5-7 while UP was already eliminated with a 3-10 win-loss record.