Ponggay Gaston, Jules Samonte credited for Ateneo win over FEU

If there are players to be credited for the Lady Eagles’ comeback win against Far Eastern University, Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro said it would be his two wing spikers: Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte.

Almadro called the deadly pair as “silent killers.”

The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles showed heart with their thrilling five-set victory over the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, 14-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-12, yesterday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After Ateneo’s bad start in the first two sets as they struggled against a heavy-serving FEU team, they ultimately got their floor defense going and ran their plays in the succeeding sets, successfully snatching their second win of the season.

The offensive heroics of Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag headlined the Lady Eagles’ victory yesterday, but it was the performance of Gaston and Samonte which Almadro noticed the most, especially their floor defense.

While the two players also contributed in the offensive end, it was their stellar floor defense that made the difference for the Katipunan squad–Gaston almost had a triple-double performance with nine points, 16 excellent digs, and 18 successful receives, while Samonte had seven points, 17 excellent digs, and 12 excellent receives.

Almadro commended his two players for showing fight in yesterday’s game, saying that he has always believed in them and that no one should count his players out.

“They lifted us up today, Jules and Ponggay–they are silent killers for today,” Almadro said. “People will really count them out, but I believe in them. People will count our digging and receiving out, but I believe in them.”

Gaston and Samonte’s backrow stops are badly needed as the Katipunan squad has been struggling in their floor defense so far in this season–they currently place fifth in digging and last in receiving.

The Lady Eagles seek to establish a three-game winning streak this season as they go up against the University of the East Lady Warriors on Sunday.

————
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Lady Warriors played under the weather, says Judith Abil

It seemed like the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors found no fun in today’s game that resulted in their defeat, according to graduating player Judith Abil.

The Lady Warriors are off to a bad start in their UAAP Season 81 campaign as they fell to the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs in straight sets, 19-25, 23-25, 19-25, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After losing the first set against the upstart Lady Bulldogs who played with libero-turned-setter Joni Chavez, the Lady Warriors strengthened their fight in the second set but to no avail.

The Recto squad never recovered as their game only went downhill, with both their offense and defense not finding its rhythm in the third set to ultimately drop the game.

Abil finished the match as the only double-digit scorer for UE with 10 points.

The senior noted that the Lady Warriors seemed to be in low spirits all throughout the game, something she deemed ‘uncharacteristic’ of her team.

“Nawalan talaga kaming lahat kanina– sobrang tahimik namin, tsaka masyado kaming nagpadala sa mga error na nagawa namin,” Abil said.

She also added that while UE should have had the upper hand in today’s game as they have more experience, the younger NU squad controlled the game with their optimistic playing approach.

“Bale ‘yung NU kasi kanina, sobrang nag-enjoy lang talaga silang lahat, kahit nagkakamali sila o nakakapuntos. Iyon ‘yung naging pagkukulang namin at napabayaan sa isa’t isa,” Abil said.

Now on a two-game losing streak, Abil said the Lady Warriors should bring everything they do in practice to an actual game, especially their noteworthy floor defense.

“Kailangan gumalaw lang talaga kami ng mabilis sa loob ng court, na lahat ng ginagawa namin sa training ay mapakita namin sa laro,” Abil said.

The Recto squad will next face the also winless Adamson University Lady Falcons next Wednesday.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Joni Chavez steps up as new NU setter

In the absence of the team’s lone setter Joyme Cagande due to a suspected ACL tear, Joni Chavez readily rises to the occasion for National University (NU).

Chavez showed fight for the NU Lady Bulldogs as they achieved their first win in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors in straight sets, 25-19, 25-23, 25-19, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Chavez filled in today as the main playmaker for the Lady Bulldogs after rookie setter Joyme Cagande fell down with a knee injury on the team’s debut game last Saturday.

According to head coach Norman Miguel, Cagande is waiting for the swelling to subside before the doctor can do a full diagnosis.

Despite the pressure with her transition from receiving to setting, Chavez made sure she delivered for NU as she registered 14 excellent sets in today’s game.

“First time ko as a setter na maglaro so parang nakaka-pressure, pero sabi ni coach na huwag ko na lang isipin ‘yung pressure tapos maglaro lang po,” Chavez said.

Teammates Princess Robles and Ivy Lacsina, who finished with 9 and 18 points respectively, commended Chavez for bravely calling the shots for the Lady Bulldogs, who are facing all odds this season with their rookie-filled line-up.

“Ang dami naming pinagdaanan, lalo na sa setter namin kaso bago lang si Joni, so happy po kami dahil nag-adjust kami doon,” Robles said.

“Sobrang saya po namin kasi madami din pong nagsasabi na bata pa po kami, pero kahit papaano, nagagawa namin ‘yung mga ginagawa namin sa training and nalalabas po namin,” Lacsina added.

With one game down as NU’s main playmaker, Chavez said she is up for it and doesn’t want to count the numbers, as long as the Lady Bulldogs achieve success this season.

“Siyempre, hindi ko naman iniisip ‘yung excellent sets, basta nakakatulong ako sa team. Mahirap, pero tinatake ko na lang as a challenge,” Chavez said.

The Lady Bulldogs will next face the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers on Sunday.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Despite strong second win, Lady Maroons refuse to settle

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons might have snatched a more convincing win this time around, but they want to prove more.

UP achieved its second straight win in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament after dispatching the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in four sets, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 25-20, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

While the Lady Maroons started slow at the start of the opening set, they quickly got their groove back and pulled away to hold a one-set advantage.

After losing grip of the second set, the Diliman squad bounced back and survived an upstart FEU team in the third and fourth sets to take the victory.

The senior triumvirate of Tots Carlos, Justine Dorog, and Isa Molde spearheaded UP’s onslaught with 15, 12, and 11 points, respectively.

While she finished as the team’s top scorer, Carlos said she had a hard time with the Morayta squad and acknowledged her lapses during the game, saying she still has her work cut out for her.

“Personally, medyo nahirapan ako kasi andami kong error–though may mga points, pero feeling ko mas marami pa rin yung error. Kailangan ko silang tulungan to score points, ” Carlos said.

With the win, the Lady Maroons finally snapped their four-season losing streak in the UAAP against the Lady Tamaraws, who they also met in the championship series in the 2018 Premier V-League Collegiate Conference.

However, Dorog didn’t want this victory to be a distraction for the Lady Maroons who are looking to end their four-decade title drought in the league.

“Actually, hindi naman namin iniisip kung ilang panalo or talo na. Step by step talaga, hindi ‘yung nanalo kami so magse-settle na kami dito–kailangan naming i-prove sa mga tao na kaya namin,” Dorog said.

The Diliman squad seeks to establish a three-game winning streak in the tournament as they go up against the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses on Sunday.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Lady Eagles on bounce-back win: Happy, but not satisfied

The work continues for the Katipunan squad. At least for now.

The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles might have snatched their first victory in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, but senior Maddie Madayag said the team still has a lot to work on.

After dropping their opening game against rivals De La Salle University Lady Spikers, the Lady Eagles bounced back after pouncing on the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses in four sets, 25-21, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Center.

While the Lady Eagles finally got themselves in the win column, Madayag said the team still needs to work on their consistency for better outings in the future.

“We’re very happy na nakabawi din kami and that we showed somewhat how we play, pero nakikita namin na marami pa kaming pagkukulang inside the court and that’s we need to work on,” Madayag said.

Holding a two-set advantage over UST, Ateneo had a third-set meltdown as the Tigresses led early, 4-14, before zooming the Tigresses zoomed into 16-25 set victory behind Milenna Alessandrini’s ace.

Ateneo was up by as much as seven points in the fourth set, 10-3, but a display of errors and lapses over controversial calls led UST to inch back, 17-19.

It took the Katipunan squad a late resurgence in that set, courtesy of Kat Tolentino’s offensive heroics, to take home the victory.

Tolentino said the Lady Eagles relaxed in the fourth set after leading early, but she was proud of the the team getting their game together in the end.

“We were up by a lot and it kind of shows our complacency, but it also shows that we have the ability to bounce back and refocus,” Tolentino said.

However, she admitted the team needs to build their character in order to avoid lapses in the future.

“We’re still learning to build our character–every game we improve and I think we’re not fully there yet, but we’ll get to the character that we want our team to have,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino topscored the Katipunan squad with 22 points from 16 attacks, four blocks, and two aces while Madayag chipped in 15 points.

The Lady Eagles look to establish a winning streak in the tournament as they go up against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws on Sunday.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Oliver Almadro asks for stronger character from Lady Eagles

While the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles finally got themselves back in the win column, head coach Oliver Almadro wants to see more maturity from his team.

The Lady Eagles finally bounced back from their opening weekend loss after defeating the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in four sets, 25-21, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22, earlier in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center.

It was a welcome victory for the Katipunan squad who lost their opening game last Sunday against perennial rivals De La Salle University Lady Spikers in four sets.

However, Almadro wasn’t fully satisfied with the team’s win and said they still have a lot to work on, especially in the mental aspect of the game.

“Ang lakas ng UST, they’re a really powerful team–I guess my players just wanted it today,” Almadro said. “But like what Kat [Tolentino] said, we really have to study and learn how to end it right. We really have to focus on that: starting it right, and ending it right.”

While they trailed behind the Tigresses in the first two sets, the Lady Eagles displayed composure as they were able to inch back and take a two-set advantage.

However, the Katipunan squad lost steam in the third set as the Tigresses led early to eventually get a set back.

In the fourth set, the Lady Eagles had many chances to pull away as they led early, 10-3, but they lost focus midway as UST climbed back, 17-19.

Eventually, Tolentino took over as her offensive heroics eventually closed the show for Ateneo.

Almadro expressed concern over his team’s third set meltdown, observing that the Lady Eagles committed too many lapses and needed to regain focus in the following set.

“I just told them to show your character, show your pride, and play with intensity,” Almadro said. “At the start of the third set, we did not show intensity, pero humabol kami. But then agains we had lousy mistakes na hindi na dapat nangyayari, and we really have to work on it.”

Almadro and the Lady Eagles try to start a winning streak as they go up against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws on Sunday.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Eya Laure shrugs off scoring pressure, says team effort needed for UST

For super rookie Eya Laure, everyone is expected to deliver for the Golden Tigresses to go back to its glory days.

The first year standout left her mark early in the league after wreaking havoc for University of Santo Tomas (UST), who snatched their opening game last Sunday against the Adamson University Lady Falcons in five sets, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6.

Headlining for the Tigresses was Laure, who helped offensive ace Sisi Rondina with scoring duties as they registered 17 points each.

While expectations are on her to contribute significantly and carry most of the offensive firepower for UST this season, Laure shrugged off the pressure and said every win should be a team effort.

“Hindi naman sobrang bigat kasi alam ko rin namang magco-contribute si Ate Sisi, si Ate Milena, at yung mga middle namin,” Laure said. “Tinitignan ko siya as gusto ko talagang tumulong, kaya ako nandito sa team na ‘to.”

Rondina, who shouldered most of the team’s scoring in the past season, praised the rookie for taking charge for the Tigresses when she failed to get her game going in the third and fourth sets.

“Honestly ako yung nawala kanina, and iyon ‘yung dapat na hindi gawin. Thankful pa rin ako kasi nandiyan si Eya, si Milena, [at] lahat ng nag-cover up sa akin,” Rondina said. “Patuloy niya lang ‘yung ginagawa niya, kasi malaking bagay ‘yung ginagawa niya.”

Laure, who ended up with Player of the Game honors, expressed her gratitude both to their coaching staff and the UST community for the support.

“Thankful din ako kasi na-showcase ko rin ‘yung talent na binuild up sa akin ni Coach Kungfu since high school,” Laure said. “Super happy and overwhelmed ako lalo na’t nakita ko ‘yung UST crowd–lumaban talaga kami dahil nakita namin silang sumusuporta.”

Despite their victory, the first year standout still isn’t satisfied with her team’s performance especially in closing sets, and noted that the Tigresses should perform consistently for better outings in the future.

“Masaya ako na nanalo kami, pero makikita mo pa rin kung ano yung kulang sa team,” Laure said. “Consistency, iyon ‘yung nakikita ko sa team namin na kailangang pag-aralan at pagtrabahuhan.”

Laure and the Tigresses need to deliver anew when they go up against heavy favorites Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles at the Filoil Flying V Center on Wednesday.

 

Jolina Dela Cruz shines in DLSU’s opening win

Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz knows no concept of holding back.

The rookie already left her mark in the league as she helped the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers in their victory over perennial rivals Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles in four sets, 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, earlier in the opening weekend of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Dela Cruz quickly went to work in her first game as she scored 11 points, helping team captain Desiree Cheng and May Luna who registered 13 and 11, respectively.

The Palarong Pambansa standout expressed gratitude with the trust the team has given her, putting her as a starter early in the season and against title favorites Ateneo.

“Honor po ‘yun sa akin, na sinama ako ni coach as a starter,” Dela Cruz said. “Sobrang kailangan po talaga sa lahat ng gagawin na maging confident ka, and sobrang thankful po ako na kasama ako dito, na alam kong kailangan ako ng team.”

Still unfamiliar with the bright lights of the UAAP, Dela Cruz admitted she needed a little time to get used to the pressure-packed atmosphere of the renowned tournament.

“Masyado po akong nadala, and nireremind naman po nila ako lagi na bumalik ka–nandiyan naman yung mga ate mo, di ka naman nila iiwan, icocover ka nila,” Dela Cruz said.

Assessing his rookie’s opening performance, head coach Ramil De Jesus expected Dela Cruz’s first game jitters but acknowledged she needed time to adjust.

“Siguro, para sa akin, nasa 60 percent ‘yung laro niya kanina–expected ko na ‘yon kasi bago sa kanya ‘yung lahat ng nangyayari,” De Jesus said.

“Sabi ko nga after ng second set: Jolina, sobrang confused mo na kasi ang likot na ng mata mo. Niremind ko lang [siya] na kailangan ng tulong mo,” the coach added.

Despite being new to the competition, the blue-chip recruit has always reminded herself to never hold back in her game, knowing she has her teammates to back her up.

“Siyempre as a rookie, bago lang ako sa ganito, nireremind lang ako lagi ng mga ate na kahit anong mangyari nandiyan lang sila sa likod, may back-up ako,” Dela Cruz said.

Photo credit: Keith Magcaling

————
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

UST Tigresses will regain lost glory, says Kungfu Reyes

Is it a new dawn for the Golden Tigresses?

University of Santo Tomas (UST) head coach Kungfu Reyes hopes so, as he believes the Espana squad will be back to their glory days after seeing the team on their opening game.

The Tigresses started their season on a high note as they survived a five-set thriller against the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6, earlier in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

While UST successfully claimed the first two sets, they struggled in the following sets as Adamson fought back and delivered in the pressure-packed moments late-game to force a decider.

From then on, the Tigresses played relentlessly and refused to give any opportunities for the Lady Falcons, making quick work of the set for the win.

Reyes noted that this is UST’s first opening game win in recent years, but expressed the victory could have been better.

“Actually, the past three seasons, lahat ng first games namin, lahat talo, so this one is very historic for us lalo na’t nag-fifth set kami kanina,” Reyes said.

“Up and down yung laro kanina–kontrol namin yung first two sets namin, third and fourth medyo kaliwa’t kanan. Nagkaroon na lang ng breaks of the game sa bandang dulo,” Reyes added.

The Tigresses saw a balanced effort from the team as graduating ace Sisi Rondina and super rookie Eya Laure contributed 17 points each, while Milena Alessandrini added 15.

For the Espana coach, this outing is a good sign for the team who relied mostly on Rondina’s scoring for the past few years.

With Laure and Alessandrini helping in the team’s scoring duties, Reyes is positive that UST will take its place sooner and return to their championship tradition in the league, last winning the title back in Season 72.

“Ito rin ‘yung team na hinahanap namin na medyo matagal nang nawawala, na alone si Sisi umi-iscore ng 30 points pero di kami nananalo,” Reyes said. “Di ko alam kung ilan ang score niya ngayon, pero ngayon may katulong na siya, so nagiging balanse na ‘yung team.”

The Tigresses look to strengthen their UAAP campaign as they go up against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Center.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

UP all praises for Kath Arado, says defense hardest part of UE’s game

She has already proven to be a headache for opponents early in the season.

While University of the East (UE) superstar libero Kath Arado already made waves in their opening game, her efforts still weren’t enough as the Lady Warriors fell down to the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons in five sets, 12-25, 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 12-15, yesterday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

After a bad opening set, the Lady Warriors displayed composure as they captured the next two grueling sets despite trailing the Lady Maroons in the early parts of the game.

However, they couldn’t seem to pounce on their two-set lead as the Diliman team quickly got their game together and took the fourth and fifth sets for the win.

While UE lost their opening game of the season, they refused to go down quietly as they showcased some of the best defensive plays in the opening weekend.

Providing much of the fight for the Recto squad was Arado who displayed her defensive prowess anew, registering 67 percent digging success and 60 percent in reception.

Obviously, her defensive heroics didn’t go unnoticed by the Lady Maroons, who deemed UE’s Arado-led defense as the hardest part of their match-up.

UP’s co-captain Tots Carlos, who tallied 17 points in their victory, said Arado’s efficient floor defense spelled the biggest difference in their game.

She also commended UE’s notable improvement coming from last season and said their game against the Lady Warriors was a lesson learned to play every team with the same amount of drive.

“Iba talaga pag may first ball–sobrang galing ni Kath so nahirapan kami,” Carlos said. “For me, ito talaga yung unpredictable na season, nagulat din kami kasi sobrang ganda ng pinakita ng UE.”

Diliman head coach Godfrey Okumu praised the defensive star, noting that the Lady Maroons particularly struggled with the Lady Warriors as they kept feeding Arado most of their offense.

“We’re trying to play against a libero who can get most of our balls. It’s hard to play against a very strong defense so we have to think of how we execute, even in our spiking,” Okumu said.

Arado came into the season with soaring individual success, as she won the Best Libero awards both in the 2018 Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam and the All-Filipino Conference.

Photo credit: Philippine Superliga Facebook page

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

FEU’s Lycha Ebon shines in UAAP debut

It was a great introduction for Morayta’s rising star.

Rookie Lycha Ebon shone in her debut for the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws as they won their opening game against the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs in four sets, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-12, earlier in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After a late collapse in the first set, the Lady Tamaraws got their game together as they fought hard to win the next two sets, taking their momentum to win the fourth set with ease.

The lefty rookie headlined FEU’s first victory of the season as she tallied 13 points, while Heather Guino-o and Celine Domingo contributed 11 each.

Ebon admitted she felt nervous at the start of the game but got over it quickly to deliver for FEU, finishing as the Player of the Game in her debut.

“Kinakabahan ako, pero mas pinapalamang ko po ‘yung excitement ko, and sinasabi ko sa sarili ko na kailangang hindi ko sayangin ‘yung trainings na pinaghandaan namin ‘tong UAAP,” Ebon said.

Ebon also shrugged comparisons between her and former Morayta ace Bernadeth Pons as they have both worn jersey number two, with the rookie expected to bear most of the scoring duties for the Lady Tamaraws.

“Sabi naman ni Ate Pons, number lang naman ‘yan e,” Ebon said. “Iyon na lang yung pinanghahawakan ko, hindi ko na mina-mind ‘yung sinasabi ng ibang tao.”

FEU head coach George Pascua praised her rookie’s debut performance in the UAAP and acknowledged each of his player’s potential to contribute to the team.

For Pascua, character and grit would be the biggest difference between the competing teams.

“Nakikita naman namin ‘yung potential ng bawat isa–sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘yung laro ngayon, labanan ng character na lang, kasi sa skill pare-pareho lang naman e,” Pascua said. “Hopefully ma-sustain namin until the end of the season.”

The Lady Tamaraws seek to establish a winning streak in the season as they face the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons on Wednesday.

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Justine Dorog thankful to be back as spiker

It was a return worth remembering.

Justine Dorog has nothing but gratitude as she is back in spiking duties for the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons, who won their opening game against the University of the East Lady Warriors in five sets, 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12.

The Diliman squad enjoyed much needed numbers from Dorog, who tallied 12 points and 18 excellent digs in their first assignment of the season.

Returning on the offensive end proved to be an easy adjustment for Dorog, who last played as a wing spiker in her rookie year.

“‘Di naman siya big adjustment, kasi nung libero ako kailangan pa rin namang dumepensa,” Dorog said. “Nung binalik ako sa open, hindi lang din naman more on palo–sabi nga ni coach, tutulong pa rin sa depensa. Chance na lang if mabigyan ako.”

Dorog served as UP’s main defensive player after the team’s two original liberos, Pia Gaiser and Ayel Estranero, underwent different fates–Gaiser went down with an injury, and Estranero transitioned to playmaking.

While she struggled in her new role in the defensive end, Dorog kept hanging on for the Lady Maroons.

“Sa una, nag-struggle ako, pero sa sitwasyon ng team namin noon, di mo na iisipin na kawawa ako, bakit ako yung ginawang libero,” Dorog said. “Yung role ko dun, parang fill in the blanks–kung saan ako kailangan, free naman ako anywhere.”

Dorog shined in their game against UE and proved herself to be an important asset for the team, as she delivered both in offense and in defense.

The Lady Maroon also showed heart and provided grit when the team needed it most–when they were down two sets to one against the Lady Warriors, only one thing was on her mind: fight.

“Since dati pa, sabi ko nga sa kanila, di niyo ako makikitang bibitaw sa team–kung kaya pang lumaban, laban lang,” Dorog said.

Now that she has returned to the role she plays best, she promises to continue delivering for the Diliman team who is looking to end their four-decade title drought in the league.

“Yun talaga goal ko, every game, nagmi-mindset ako na kailangan kong magperform di lang naman para sa sarili ko pero para sa team,” Dorog said.

Photo courtesy: Philippine Superliga

——
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

UP needs to fix error-plagued game, says Okumu

It was not the most ideal win, but they will take it.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons started their season on a high note as they survived the upstart University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors in five sets, 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12, in the opening weekend of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

After taking the first set with ease, the Lady Maroons struggled in the next two sets as the Lady Warriors showed resiliency and kept the fight going despite the deficit.

Being down two sets to one, the Diliman squad got their game together in the fourth set and forced an extension, pulling away in the latter part of the fifth set to take the win.

The senior duo of Isa Molde and Tots Carlos led the Lady Maroons with 23 and 17 points respectively, while Justine Dorog added 12.

While they won their opening game, UP head coach Godfrey Okumu expressed concern about his squad’s error-filled game.

The Diliman squad had many chances to pull away in the second and third sets but lost sight of the goal as they committed lapses in their game, resulting to UE’s comeback.

“I don’t know, I think it’s part of our winning style. The sets we won, we passed well. The sets we lost, we just gave away points,” Okumu said. “We’re giving the opponents too many points, but we would work on that.”

The head coach admitted the team’s struggle to win the match despite their strong momentum going into the tournament, winning two collegiate championships in their off-season.

“Today’s game was a struggle and I’d say we only struggled against UE because they’re not an easy team to play against. It was a wake up call for my team to not take things easy,” Okumu said.

Dorog, who was converted back to her original position after playing libero for the past two years, said that this win was a lesson learned for her team to come at every team with the same drive and focus.

“For me, mas okay na ganon yung nangyari para di kami nagse-settle–ngayon na nag-five sets, at least nalaman namin kung ano yung kailangan naming i-work as a team,” Dorog said.

On the other hand, Okumu said they dedicated their win to the late Dominic Sytin, the team’s main sponsor who was killed last November.

“It was a hard start for us, the emotions and feelings involved that he’s not going to be here be here watching us play, because he helped UP to where it is now.”

The Lady Maroons seek to start a winning streak as they face the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday.

(Photo credit: Philippine Superliga)

————
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.

Snapping a five-decade drought: Arado, Mendrez to front UE for Season 81

Almost half a century has passed since their last glory days.

Luck hasn’t been exactly on the side of the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, who have settled as cellar dwellers for the past decade. Winning their last UAAP championship in Season 35 back in 1972, the Recto squad particularly struggled to snatch victories throughout the years as they have only won four out of 70 games in the past five editions of the UAAP.

But it’s been a long time coming for the Lady Warriors–this time, they are ready to go all-out.

This season will see a more experienced UE team who will play for the first time without former ace Shaya Adorador and with four graduating players leading the way.

Despite their unfortunate record for the past decade, the Lady Warriors are poised to rise from the ashes after achieving pre-season team and individual success.

Leading the Recto squad is defensive ace Kath Arado, who has arguably been the pillar of the team for the past four years. The superstar libero has achieved quite a feat in her off-season campaigns for the Lady Warriors and her club team Generika-Ayala Lifesavers, winning the Best Libero award both in the 2018 PSL All-Filipino Conference and the 2018 PSL Collegiate Grand Slam.

Complementing Arado’s stellar floor defense is graduating setter Laizah Bendong, whose efficient playmaking resulted in her winning the Best Setter award in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam.

Meanwhile, UE’s offensive arsenal will be led by captain Mary Anne Mendrez, hailed PSL Collegiate Grand Slam 2nd Best Outside Spiker. The team skipper will collaborate with graduating spiker Judith Abil and the returning Jasmine Alcayde to wreak havoc from the wings.

Graduating middle blocker Roselle Baliton looks to man the Lady Warriors’ net defense together with Mariella Gabarda, Seth Rodriguez, Jana Sta. Maria, and Remcel Santos.

Completing the Recto squad are sophomore setter Lhara Clavano, backup rookie libero Jasckin Babol, and wing spikers Zilfa Olarve and Mialyn Manabat.

Led by head coach and former UST men’s volleyball setter Rey Karl Dimaculangan, the Lady Warriors look to open their season on a high note as they go up against the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Center.

————
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.