MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) claimed the solo lead in the women's division as rookies Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera subdued Ateneo's Michelle Morente and Jhoana Maraguinot, 21-16, 21-11, Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 beach volleyball at the UE Caloocan court.
The Tigresses, last season's runners-up, are now unbeaten in three games, making them the heavy favorites, especially with Rondina and Rivera playing like seasoned veterans.
Far Eastern University (FEU), meanwhile, kept within distance of UST after Bernadette Pons and Charm Simborio defeated Krysel Cueva and Fracislyn Cais of the University of the East, 21-9, 21-14, for their second straight win.
De La Salle University's Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo overcame Adamson University's Amanda Villanueva and Marleen Cortel, 21-19, 21-17, to barge into the win column while giving the defending champions their second straight loss.
Fajardo bailed out the Lady Spikers, who tied the UP Lady Maroons at 1-1, with a service ace to close out the opening frame and a match-clinching drop shot in the second set.
National University's Jaja Santiago and Fatima General marched to a second consecutive win after a season-opening loss to FEU by fashioning out a 21-9, 21-12 thumping of Arylle Magtalas and Hannah Mangulabnan of the University of the Philippines.
The Lady Falcons, who also lost to the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday, dropped to 1-2, while the Lady Eagles and the Lady Warriors are winless in two outings.
UST is also unbeaten in three games in the men's division, turning back Adamson University, 21-17, 21-17, on Sunday.
In other matches, NU downed UP, 21-14, 21-15; FEU routed La Salle, 21-12, 21-10; and Ateneo nipped UE, 16-21, 21-12, 15-13.
The Bulldogs, Tamaraws and Blue Eagles improved to 2-1, while the Falcons went down to 1-1.
The Fighting Maroons, Green Spikers and Red Warriors are winless in two matches.