The current UP Lady Maroons won over the FEU Lady Tamaraws in four sets to start their UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball campaign at 2-0. But prior to this victory, the athletes from Morayta have stamped dominance over their Katipunan-based counterparts. When exactly did the Lady Maroons defeat the Lady Tamaraws before yesterday? It was long enough that only one of the players can still suit up for a UAAP game.
On February 9, 2014, the two teams met in front of 791 spectators at The Arena in San Juan. Back then, Noynoy Aquino was still Philippine president, Shaq Delos Santos was still at the helm for FEU, and Jerry Yee is still mentoring the Lady Maroons from the sidelines. Current UAAP volleyball commissioner Yul Benosa was even officiating that game together with National Referee Romulo Reforsado.
The cast for the Lady Tamaraws in this UAAP Season 76 second round match-up includes then-rookie Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, Gyzelle Sy, Genevieve Casugod, Samantha Dawson, and libero Tin Agno. Kyla Atienza was even a wing spiker during that time for Jonnabelle Dionela served as Agno’s back-up. Other players in that FEU roster include Remy Palma, Marie Simborio, Glyssa Faith Torres, Yna Louise Papa, Mayjorie Roxas, and Rizalie Amaro.
On the other hand, Nicole Tiamzon and Arylle Magtalas were the ones distributing the ball to the likes of Monica Ortiz, Sheeka Gin Espinosa, Angeli Araneta, and Kathy Bersola. Pia Gaiser was the Lady Maroons’ libero. Chester Tanika Ong, Pam Legaspi, Alyssa Layug, Julienne Calugcug, Hannah Mangulabnan, Princess Se, and back-up libero Vina Alinas.
Lady Maroons win in four
UP took the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-16. FEU bounced back in the third, 25-16, but the Lady Maroons claimed only their second win in 13 games after a 25-19 fourth set win. Bersola led UP’s charge with 14 attack points and six blocks. Araneta supported with 13 spikes and two aces while Ortiz added 12. Tiamzon had three points and 32 excellent sets while Gaiser finished with 19 digs and eight receptions.
Just like at present wherein rookie Lycha Ebon has been delivering the goods for FEU, Pons has been the main weapon of the Lady Tamaraws with 22 points (21 off attacks) while Casugod, Dawson, and Atienza all had seven markers each. Sy made four points and 32 sets while Agno had eight digs and 13 receptions.
Implications of the game
The Lady Tamaraws were just the second team that the Lady Maroons defeated in Season 76. The other squad was the UE Lady Warriors which finished with a 0-14 record. More importantly, FEU was gunning for a Final Four spot that time and the loss dropped their record to 6-7. A loss to the Ateneo Lady Eagles ended their eliminations at 6-8 which is often not enough for a semifinal slot.
But the De La Salle University Lady Spikers swept the preliminary round to gain an automatic Finals slot with a thrice-to-beat advantage. Their feat also translated into a stepladder Final Four for their contenders.
Luckily, the Adamson Lady Falcons also finished at 6-8 after losing back-to-back games to the NU Lady Bulldogs and the UST Golden Tigresses respectively. Both Adamson and FEU played for the fourth playoff spot with the San Marcelino-based squad winning in five sets. Adamson’s line-up had the likes of Mayette Zapanta, Fenela Emnas, May Macatuno, Jellie Tempiatura, Shiela Marie Pineda, Jema Galanza, Amanda Villanueva, and Mylene Paat.
Had FEU defeated UP, they could entered the stepladder Final Four with a 7-7 record and immediately face the third seed Ateneo. Who knows what could have happened if this pushed through. But as we all know now, Alyssa Valdez and the rest of the Lady Eagles willed themselves to win the championship over the Lady Spikers.