UAAP Power Rankings: UP, up and away
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 07, 2016 12:44 PM
UP's rookie 1-2 punch is starting to take over the UAAP.
The previous week in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament covered the end of the first round and the start of the second.
If that may sound a little busy, you are absolutely right. After a crowded set of games however, a couple of storylines appeared after the dust settled.
Super powers Ateneo and La Salle are no longer invincible and the Lady Maroons of UP are on the rise.
The UST Golden Tigresses likewise appeared to have solved their diesel problem as the Espana-based squad have now won four of their last five, losing only to Diliman.
And with that, it should be no surprise that the young core of those two young teams make up most of our latest Power Rankings.
1. Isabel Molde, UP Lady Maroons (unranked in week 4, number 1 in week 3)
Super rookie Isabel Molde takes the top spot anew in our Power Rankings after a week of hiatus.
Why? Because the ABS-CBN Sports' mid-season Rookie of the Year is at the heart of UP's three-game winning streak and current rise to the top.
Molde fired 13 points in the Lady Maroons' surprisingly easy sweep of the NU Lady Bulldogs to cap round one of the elimination round. She was front and center again, scoring 15 points (four aces) as UP delivered a haymaker to start the second round with a four-set conquest of two-time defending champions Ateneo last Sunday.
All of a sudden, Molde has UP only one game behind of both La Salle and Ateneo for first place in the UAAP.
2. EJ Laure, UST Golden Tigresses (honorable mention in week 4)
Like UP, UST is starting to make its move towards a Final Four berth.
Among all the teams in the very crowded 4-7 spots, the Golden Tigresses have been the most impressive lately, winning four of their last five games after dropping three straight to start Season 78.
And sophomore team captain EJ Laure has been a steady presence.
Sparkplug Cherry Rondina almost gets all the headlines but it is Laure that is the undisputed leader of UST's young group. In their ambush of the DLSU Lady Spikers to cap round 1, Laure delivered the final blow on her way to 13 points, she added another 15 vs. UE to start round 2 on the winning note.
3. Diana Carlos, UP Lady Maroons (number 5 in Week 4)
Isabel Molde is not the only super rookie in UP, the Lady Maroons also have Diana Carlos.
The other half of what is shaping up as UP's top 1-2 punch for a very long time has been equally great lately. Carlos followed up her 15-point outing (including the game-winning block) in week 4 with a quality pair of games in week 5 as the Lady Maroons have gone streaking, winning three in a row.
Carlos had three blocks on top of her 12 points against two-time champion Ateneo last Sunday. She also had 12 in UP's sweep of NU early last week.
4. Kim Fajardo, DLSU Lady Spikers (number 1 in week 4)
It was a minor hiccup to end round 1 but the DLSU Lady Spikers were back in business to get the second round going and Kim Fajardo continues to run the show in Taft.
Fajardo had 42 excellent sets as the Lady Spikers barely escaped FEU in a five-set thriller last Saturday. Kim Dy was Fajardo's main target against the Lady Tamaraws as four Lady Spikers wound up scoring in double figures.
Even in defeat at the hands of UST, Fajardo registered 25 excellent sets for La Salle, adding to her already impressive season.
5. Cherry Rondina, UST Golden Tigresses (honorable mention in week 4)
The leading scorer for round 1 and MVP candidate Cherry Rondina is making the most our of her role for UST and that is be the sparkplug on the floor.
In the Tigresses' three-set upset of La Salle last Wednesday, Rondina backed up team captain EJ Laure and scored 11 points, 10 on attacks. Not only that, the former UAAP beach volleyball MVP and champion recorded 10 excellent digs, second only to Rica Rivera.
Against UE, Rondina finished with 12 points on 11 attacks and was once again second only to Rivera in terms of excellent digs.
Nicole Tiamzon, UP Lady Maroons
Kathy Bersola, UP Lady Maroons
Majoy Baron, DLSU Lady Spikers
Bernadeth Pons, FEU Lady Tamaraws
Alyssa Valdez, Ateneo Lady Eagles
Ara Galang, DLSU Lady Spikers
Rica Rivera, UST Golden Tigresses
Ivy Perez, NU Lady Bulldogs
Myla Pablo, NU Lady Bulldogs