MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas spoiled the return of San Sebastian College’s top hitter Gretchel Soltones and pounded out a 25-16, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20 victory to zero in on the second quarterfinal berth in Group B of the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan City late Sunday.
The Tigresses put on a solid defensive stand upfront, coming up with 15 blocks, while ace rookie Ennajie Laure continued to flash her awesome spiking prowess with 16 kills that went well with Marivic Meneses and Pam Lastimosa’s combined 26-hit output.
The win was UST’s second against a loss as it gained solo second behind unbeaten defending champion National U, which took the first quarters slot in their group with a sweep of its first four games in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
SSC, the many-time NCAA champion, fell to 1-3 for fourth behind the third running FEU (2-2), keeping reigning NCAA titlist Perpetual Help in the race for the fourth and last quarters slot despite a 0-3 card.
Rhea Dimaculangan and Eiriel Cortez added eight and six points for UST and Shannen Palec, Carmela Tunay, Jessey de Leon and Loren Lantin combined for eight points. But it was the Tigresses net defense that frustrated the Lady Stags no end, particularly Soltones, who returned after missing the team’s last two games due to injury but was held to just nine hits.
Soltones, who scored 15 points in a four-set loss to Far Eastern U last March 25, made 35 attempts against the Tigresses, ramming in just eight spikes while making 12 faults.
With Soltones shackled, Czarina Berbano fired 13 hits while Bea Uy, Ara Mallare and Ryzabelle Devanadera added eight, five and four points, respectively, for the Lady Stags, who close out their elims campaign against the Davao Agilas on April 27.