UAAP volleyball weekend analysis: UP shakes things up

UAAP volleyball weekend analysis: UP shakes things up

MANILA, Philippines — The game that had the most implications was UP’s four-set win over National University last Sunday, 25-14, 25-27, 25-21, 25-12. That sure shook up the standings and put a major dent in NU’s aspirations, not to mention nearly sever FEU’s slim hopes for advancing.

The win does wonders for the Lady Maroons and breathes new life into their campaign. Tots Carlos has been their best player all season long, but three other players have really picked it up in their last three matches – Kathy Bersola, Isa Molde and Aiesha Gannaban. The first two are doing what is only expected but it is Gannaban who has stepped up in place of an inconsistent Nicole Tiamzon that has given UP additional firepower. Converted libero Justine Dorog has also done a creditable job in the past three matches.

That huge victory over NU put the Lady Maroons in a great position to advance. They have two remaining assignments – the big one over UST and their last against, FEU.

At this point, you want to build momentum heading into the Final Four by winning.

As for the maddening Lady Bulldogs, it seems like they only get up to play Ateneo (and Adamson but they don’t count). Against everyone else, they look like fumbling rookies of which they are not.

It should, of course, be noted that both NU and UP battled in five sets in the first round with the Lady Bulldogs prevailing. While you cannot take away that UP played better, what is shocking is the Lady Bulldogs looking so fragile. They were toothless and perhaps no one cut a more distraught sight than Jorelle Singh, who finished with three points.

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It was Singh’s worst outing this season, and it is worse than her five-point showing versus La Salle in the first round (that foreshadowed poor performances against FEU and UST in succession).

This was the year they were expected to really compete for the title and unless they play Ateneo in the finals, they don’t look good at all.

As I have written and postulated before, they play well when there are no expectations. But when saddled with tags of “contender” and “favorite” they underachieve. Clearly for them, the V-League is not the UAAP.

The Lady Bulldogs will play FEU this Sunday in another match with play-off implications. The Lady Tamaraws, for their part, have to try and win all their three remaining matches. Unfortunately, it is no longer in their hands. They are also dependent on the fate of UP, UST, and NU.

Speaking of UST, they run through a gauntlet of contenders beginning with La Salle this Wednesday, March 29, followed by UP on April 2, and lastly, NU on April 8. Aside from FEU, they are the one team looking to book a place in the Final Four with three remaining matches.

If they want to realize their championship aspirations, they have to be able to beat one of the top two sides in Ateneo and La Salle.

The Ateneo Lady Eagles returned to the win column with a three-set win (25-13, 25-13, 25-11) over the hapless Adamson Lady Falcons last Sunday.

Jema Galanza or no Jema Galanza, the Lady Falcons played their worst match of the second round. They only scored 37 points with 20 of those coming off Ateneo errors. Their first round low was 34 against UST (however they battled the Golden Tigresses to four sets in the second round).

For the Lady Eagles, Sherwin Meneses, in place of the absent Anusorn Bundit who had to attend to a death in the family, went to his bench, giving them much-needed playing time with the season heading into its next phase.

And even so, they didn’t let up on the pressure.