Tigresses near Final 4 berth

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas drew the best from middle blocker Ria Meneses to carve out 25-20, 25-21, 25-16 win over University of the Philippines and move on the cusp of making it to the Final Four in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Maroons’ attacking game was stymied by Meneses, who had a season-high tying eight blocks to finish with 10 points.

“Siguro, maganda ang gising ni Ria. Ang importante, nakakabalik na. ‘Yung confidence level, okay na ulit,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes. “Maganda ang iginalaw ni Ria, kaya nag-materialize blocking all throughout.”

The victory, their eighth in 13 matches, allowed the Tigresses to boost their bid in the chase for the two remaining semis berths.

UST, eyeing a return Final Four stint after a four-year absence, is ahead by a game over UP, National University and Far Eastern University, now bunched in a three-way tie at 7-6 at fourth spot.

“Malaki na ang chance namin sa Final Four, hindi na puwedeng hayaan na mawala pa,” said Reyes, whose troops have finally defeated the Lady Maroons for the first time in three seasons.  “Kung sino ang unang pumikit, ang kumurap, ‘yun ang madidisgrasya.”     

The Tigresses will wrap up their elimination-round campaign against the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday.     

Earlier, Ateneo sat out Jho Maraguinot and still prevailed over University of the East, 25-18, 25-12, 25-10, to join defending champion De La Salle in first place at 11-2.

EJ Laure came through with 15 points, including three service aces, seven digs and four excellent receptions, while Cherry Rondina chipped in 14 points and four excellent receptions, for UST.

Diana Carlos finished with eight points, while Isa Molde and Nicole Tiamzon tossed in seven points for UP.

In men’s play, Adamson University, playing the spoilers’ role to the hilt, foiled UST’s march to the Final Four with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 victory to tie De La Salle at 4-9.

NU, priming up for its much-awaited clash with undefeated Ateneo on Saturday, downed UE, 25-15, 25-15, 25-18, for its 12th win in 13 games.

Games Wednesday: (Filoil Flying V Centre)
8 a.m. – UE vs DLSU (Men)
10 a.m. – UP vs AdU (Men)
2 p.m. – AdU vs UE (Women)
4 p.m. – FEU vs UP (Women)

Topics: UAAP Season 79 , women’s volleyball tournament , University of Santo Tomas , University of the Philippines
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