The UE Lady Warriors avenged their preliminary round loss to the FEU Lady Tamaraws to take home the bronze medal of the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam 2018. If their previous game went five sets, this one only needed three sets to determine a winner.
UE raced to an 8-3 start in the first set but FEU gained momentum to lead by the second technical timeout, 16-14. The Lady Tamaraws stretched their lead to 22-18 but the Lady Warriors tied the score at 22 courtesy of Mary Anne Mendrez’ consecutive spikes. Jerrili Malabanan brought FEU to set point but UE extended the set due to a mishit by Lycha Ebon. The Lady Warriors eventually won the set, 27-25, with a drop ball by Mariella Gabarda off an FEU over-reception.
The Lady Warriors came into the first TTO of the 2nd set with an 8-6 advantage.. However, four consecutive service errors barred them from stretching their lead. Still, they went to the second TTO with a 16-14 edge. FEU tied the count at 19 but UE pulled away with four straight points to pull away at 23-19. The Lady Tamaraws made one more push to salvage the set but a Seth Rodriguez quick strike from the middle gave UE the second set at 25-23.
With all the momentum on their side, UE dominated the third set to clinch the bronze, 25-16. The Lady Warriors raced to a 5-0 lead in the deciding set but FEU fought back to trim the lead to one, 6-5. Judith Abil’s powerful spike and Rodriguez’ block on Malabanan brought the tally to 8-5. The ladies in red never looked back and led by as much as eight, 23-15. Abil’s back-to-back attacks gave the match for UE.
Mendrez and Laizah Bendong were hailed as Players of the Game. Bendong had 18 excellent sets and three service aces while Mendrez had 15 attack points and an ace.
Ending the year on a good note
In the post-game interview, Bendong shared, “Bago kami pumunta dito, pinaghandaan talaga namin kasi we don’t want to end this year na talo kami.” But while UE won in straight sets, it was not a walk in the park as FEU was right in the mix in the first two sets. Likewise, the Lady Warriors committed 32 errors in the three-set match but made up for it with a 51-24 advantage in attacks. They also had a slight advantage in aces, 6-4, and levelled with FEU in kill blocks at four apiece.