Here’s the breakdown of our volleyball evangelist Tex Suter of the UAAP Season 79 matches between Ateneo and UE, and UST and UP on Sunday.
Game 1: ADMU def. UE, 25-18, 25-12, 25-10
This game was between an Ateneo team that has demonstrated great execution on both sides of the ball and a UE team that has yet to show they can sustain a level of play that will make even more competitive than they already are. The Lady Red Warriors started to fade towards the end of the second round. Here is what happened.
The first set saw Ateneo dictate every aspect of the game. They took the set 25-18 dominating the stat sheet in all categories. The UE team scored 18 points off of errors by the Lady Eagles in the end game.
Set 2 was the same as the first set, but with less errors by the Lady Eagles. They won this set handily 25-12, doubling up the attack stat 14-7. UE couldn’t establish any middle attack, helping the Ateneo defense get into pose way ahead of the UE attack. The erratic passing of UE led to the loss in the set.
Set 3 was even worse for the Lady Red Warriors, as they seemed to have had the fight taken out of them by a merciless Ateneo attack. The UE team only managed a few points in transition when their defense did do their job. Kat Arado could not handle the entire back row as the other UE defenders seemed to rely too much on their libero. Arado is a very good libero, but she can only defend so much real estate. Her teammates must protect their zone so she can protect herself. The set was over 25-10.
This game saw how good Ateneo is and how much development is still needed for the UE team. A brand new converted setter, surrounded by young players not used to actually competing. Now they sent some small waves among the other teams that noticed the potential. It is now on the players and coaching staff to develop the system. Coach Francis is fully capable of developing talent, it is now up to the players to want to be good players.
Game 2: UST def. UP, 25-20, 25-21, 25-16
This game was about taking control of your own Final Four destiny. A loss meant other factors would affect your Final Four standing or presence. Let’s see who took control of their own destiny.
The first set saw both teams trade points off great defensive plays. The two teams showed great commitment to the defensive side that made for a transition battle. UP built a small lead (14-11) then UST would close in 14-13. UST would take the lead into the second TTO 16-15. UP started to commit errors in the reception department and from the service line. This gave UST some breathing room and finished the Lady Maroons off 25-20. UP having nine errors, five from the service line. UST won the service battle tallying four aces and getting four blocks.
Set 2 saw UP look sharper than last set, as Estrañero was able to run an offense that kept UST slightly off balance. UP had a lead 11-6 before UST came up with great transition execution and solid blocking to take the lead into the second TTO 16-14. The Golden Tigresses went on a 10-3 run. The set ended with UST taking it 25-21. UP didn’t play a very clean transition game. Riri Meneses became a solid wall in the middle with already 6 block kills in two sets. UST also won the attack battle 11-7.
The third set saw UST come to play, and UP seem resigned to their fate. UST led 8-4 in the first TTO and increased the deficit 16-6 in the second TTO. UP couldn’t pass the ball with any desire to win. UST closed the show 25-16.
What we saw here was a UST team slowly wear down their opponents by taking their will away. UST’s commitment to defend as a team proved to be the deciding factor in this game. UP lost their mojo apparently, and lost the will to compete. Congratulations to Riri Meneses for putting up eight big blocks for UST. Those blocks were a big part of why UP lost their edge. EJ Laure and Sisi Rondina really led their team by showing defensive commitment, despite being the teams go-to scorers. They needed leadership, and found two leaders that have been solid for their team.