By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
COMING off a gutsy victory in five sets on opening day of Season 81 volleyball of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, the UP Lady Fighting Maroons go for their second win in as many games when they face off with the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Set for 4 p.m., the University of the Philippines looks to build on its win in its season debut on Feb. 16 against the University of the East Lady Warriors in a thrilling five-setter that saw them overhaul a 2-1 deficit to win, 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19 and 15-12.
Against UE, the Lady Maroons banked on the clutch plays of veterans Isa Molde, Justine Dorog and Tots Carlos in the deciding fifth set to complete the salvage work after falling behind two sets to one earlier in the contest.
Molde, a fourth-year outside hitter, top-scored for the Diliman-based team with 23 points with Carlos adding 17 points.
Dorog had 12 points while setter Ayel Estranero had 44 excellent sets.
For leading her team to the victory, Molde was the first recipient of the UAAP player of the week honors.
While they are happy to open their season with a victory, the Lady Maroons are expecting nothing easy to come their way as the tournament progresses, beginning against FEU.
“FEU is a tough opponent because they have a lot of veterans who can contribute a lot to their team. We have to stay composed against them and lessen our errors,” Molde said in the lead-up to today’s match.
Like UP, the Lady Tamaraws are shooting for a 2-0 card after fashioning out a come-from-behind win of their own against the National University Lady Bulldogs, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19 and 25-12, also Feb. 16.
Dropped the opening frame against the Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Tamaraws relied on their collective experience to eventually get the better of their opponents for their first win.
Rookie Lycha Ebon showed the way for FEU with 13 points with Celine Domingo and Heather Guino-o finishing with 11 points each.
Jerrili Malabanan was the other Lady Tamaraw in double digits in scoring with 10.
“Before the game I told my players of the importance of having a good start. We did not have that but good thing we were able to recover,” said FEU coach George Pascua following their victory.
Meanwhile, preceding the UP-FEU clash at 2 p.m. is the battle between the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses and Ateneo Lady Eagles.
UST was a victor in its previous game in five sets over the Adamson Lady Falcons while Ateneo bowed to rivals and defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers in four sets on Sunday.