UAAP: Eya Laure, UST Tigresses hold off UE for third straight win

UST Tigresses’ Eya Laure goes for a kill in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–University of Santo Tomas had to scrape past University of the East in a marathon first set before prevailing, 30-32, 25-18, 25-16, 25-14, on Saturday at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball.

Eya Laure closed out the win with a ruthless kill through the blocking Riza Nogales that capped an 18-point, 14-attack performance for the Tigresses’ third consecutive victory.

“We have to work on our intensity on the court. We were always reminded not to keep up with the intensity of our opponents and aim to just do better,’’ said Laure, who added six digs and three blocks to her stat line.

The Tigresses ended the first round with a 5-2 record, giving them the much-needed encouragement entering the final phase of the tournament.

Regina Jurado worked hard at the net with 13 points, including 10 attacks, Filipino-Italian Milena Alessandrini was likewise on assault mode with 12 points and two service aces, Cassie Carballo had 15 excellent sets while libero Bernadett Pepito gamely registered 14 digs and 18 receptions.

“This is a big morale booster going into the second round. We just have to sustain our game and correct our lapses during practice,’’ said UST coach Kungfu Reyes.

The Tigresses were in total control early in the first set, speeding away 17-9 and thriving on the Lady Warriors’ miscues.

UST Tigresses in the goes for a kill in the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

UST Tigresses in the goes for a kill in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

The tendency to take it easy engulfed them, however, permitting the UE to creep in and wiped out the deficit through the heroics of Janeca Lana, KC Cepeda and Vanessa Bangayan.

Lana’s push and a block by Riza Nogales on the power-striking Xyza Gula knotted the count at 22 and what came next was a long exchange of attacks and errors on both sides before Cepeda imposed herself.

Cepada hammered the UST defense with back-to-back kills as the Lady Warriors completed their dizzying comeback.

Eager to quickly retrieve their pride, the Tigresses again took command at the onset of the second set, but this time they made sure no collapse will hit them again.

Two successive errors by Cepada and Alessandrini’s down-the-line attack opened a 22-15 advantage for UST that Jurado punctuated with a pair of authoritative strikes.

They became calmer over the next two frames, starting out strong again on both occasions with Imee Hernandez and KC Galdones taking charge in the third with a down-the-line attack and a block off Lana at match point.

The Tigresses cannot be denied in the last set with Alessandrini keeping them safely ahead with a variety of attacks before Hernandez and Laure completely dashing the hopes of the Lady Warriors for a breakthrough win.

Lana scored 13, including 12 attacks, KC Cepada had 12 markers and Vanessa Bangayan contributed 10 attacks, 11 digs and 13 receptions for the Lady Warriors, who lost all of their matches in the first round.

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