University of Santo Tomas (UST) toughened up for the quarters, repulsing a stubborn San Sebastian College (SSC) side in the opening set before cruising to a 25-22, 25-15, 25-17 victory to finish second to unbeaten Ateneo at the close of the Group B eliminations in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City on Sunday.
The Tigresses banked on their superb net defense to frustrate the Lady Stags, coming away with 11 blocks while skipper Pam Lastimosa uncorked a 14-hit game, spiked by 13 attacks, and Ennajie Laure and Chlodia Cortez combined for 22 points to power UST to a 4-1 campaign in the single round elims of the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
It was a tough loss for SSC, which came out strong in a bid to nail the all important win for a spot in the next round of the tournament presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
But with a 1-4 card, the Lady Stags dropped to joint fifth with the TIP Lady Engineers with the two teams awaiting the result of the La Salle-Dasmariñas-St. Benilde encounter being played at presstime.
At 1-3, La Salle-Dasma hopes to steal a win and the last quarters berth but a St. Benilde victory will pave the way for a three-way tie for fourth. The standoff will be broken via the quotient system.
Jolina Labiano topscored for SSC with 11 hits after a gritty stand in the first set, the Lady Stags failed to keep in step with the Tigresses’ power game and superb blocking and reeled to their fourth setback in the tournament backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Meanwhile, Ateneo underscored its readiness for the tough quarters grind as it plastered also-ran Technological Institute of the Philippines, 25-16, 25-14, 25-13, to sweep its side of the elims in Group B.
Alyssa Valdez knocked down 12 kills and came through with two blocks and two aces to power the Lady Eagles to the 60-minute romp, their fifth straight.