University of Sto. Tomas averted disaster as the Tigresses displayed mental toughness at crunch time to beat Far Eastern University, 25-14, 25-17, 10-25, 23-25, 15-12, and secure a Final Four slot in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference Group B at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Sunday.
Eya Laure and rookie Imee Hernandez delivered the goods and powered UST to its fourth straight win in as many games. The Tigresses can complete a sweep of pool play on Saturday against NCAA champion Arellano University.
Laure registered 18 points with 14 from attacks, three aces and a kill block while Hernandez got 14 markers including two in UST’s closing 6-2 scoring binge in the fifth frame. Rachelle Roldan scored 10 points Grace Vernaiz and Joyce Abueg combined for 15 points for the Espana-based squad, who hammered down 56 attack points.
UST flirted with disaster after allowing the Lady Tamaraws to comeback from two sets down. FEU erased a 7-4 UST lead and even went up 10-9 before the Tigresses’ escape.
Head coach Kungfu Reyes was just glad that his wards responded well to the challenge and displayed great character under pressure.
“Those things na ginagawa namin sa ensayo lalabas in real game so yun na yun. Yung test of character, yun ang pinakaimportante,” said Reyes.
The Lady Tams took a 10-9 lead after an Abueg attack error but Laure answered with an off the block hit that sparked a 5-0 blitz capped by a kill block by Hernandez to push UST at match point, 14-10. FEU countered with two straight points before Angel Cayuna sent her service short to end the duel.
The Lady Tams fell to 2-2 slate tied with Arellano U behind second-running College of St. Benilde (3-1) and are on the brink of missing the semis cut.
France Ronquillo finished with 16 points while Czarina Carandang and Jeanette Villareal posted 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for FEU, which will need to win over Lyceum of the Philippines University next week and hope that Arellano and CSB will drop their respective last assignments to force a playoff for the last Final Four seat.
Meanwhile, LPU barged in the win column after cruising past TIP, 25-6, 25-15, 25-14, in the other Group B pairing.
Alexandra Rafael and Joan Doguna scored 11 points each while mary Joy Onofre had 10 markers for the 1-3 Lady Pirates,who kept the Lady Engineers winless in four games.
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