University of the Philippines (UP) almost blew a two-set lead before fending off the late charge of the hard-fighting University of the East (UE), 25-19, 25-13, 21-25, 16-25, 15-8, to give Kenyan coach Godfrey Okumu an auspicious start in Season 80 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The troika of Tots Carlos, Justine Dorog and Isa Molde came through with clutch points for the Lady Maroons in the deciding set and weathered the charge of the Lady Warriors to join opening-day winners National University and De La Salle University at the top of the standings.
Okumu, who replaced Jerry Yee at the helm, took over from Jerry Yee in the off-season, said the team is still a work in progress the reason they failed to capitalize on their early lead.
“We are trying to work on our receiving system. It will take time. The team is on the rebuilding stage,” said Okumu after an almost two-hour match contest.
Carlos, UP’s team captain, finished with 22 points, Molde added 20 hits, including three service aces, and 17 digs, while Dorog also had three aces for a 11-point outing on top of 18 digs and eight excellent receptions.
Judith Abil led the Lady Warriors with 12 hits, including four service aces, while Meanne Mendrez chipped in 10 markers.
“Great job for UE. They really played well,” Okumu added.
In the men’s division JP Bugaoan, Jude Garcia and Richard Solis combined for 34 points as Far Eastern University (FEU) shocked Ateneo de Manila University, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22, ending the latter’s 30-game winning run.
It was FEU’s first win over the Blue Eagles in their last nine meetings dating back Season 76.
“We worked hard for this. That’s our goal to play our best each game,” said Tamaraws coach Rey Diaz
Jerry San Pedro had 12 points and five digs as UP gave its new coach Hans Chuacuco his first collegiate win with a 25-22, 25-15, 25-13 dismantling of UE.