MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) University of the East barged into the win column of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday after hacking out a four-set triumph over Adamson University at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Judith Abil was superb on both ends, Meanne Mendrez played through injury and came up with some key hits, and the Lady Warriors secured a 20-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-22 result for their first win of the season.
UE improved to 1-2 in the season, while handing the Lady Falcons their third loss in a row.
Abil had 22 points -- all on kills -- while adding 21 receptions and 20 digs. Mendrez and Geline Olarve each scored 14 points, while Seth Rodriguez scored four of her 12 points on kill blocks. Ace libero Kath Arado was typically solid, with 39 digs and 28 receptions.
"Malaking bagay ito sa amin," said UE's first-year head coach, Karl Dimaculangan. "Reward na nila ito sa sarili nila, na nakakuha na kami ng panalo."
The Lady Warriors, coming off a brutal straight sets loss to National University the last time out, notched a breakthrough in the second set when Adamson committed back-to-back attack errors to gift UE with the win.
UE then displayed its poise in Set 3, with Abil and Mendrez conspiring to give their team a 23-21 lead. Eli Soyud pulled Adamson within one, but was blocked in the next rally as the Lady Warriors reached set point. A down-the-line hit by Adamson rookie Trisha Genesis kept them alive, but Olarve pounced on an over-reception to give UE a 2-1 lead.
Trying to stay alive, the Lady Falcons seized a 12-8 advantage in Set 4 behind Bern Flora. But the Lady Warriors soon recovered, thanks in part to Adamson's errors. They would claim a 21-19 lead after Rodriguez's block on Flora, although an error by Abil and a kill by Flora knotted the count again.
But Abil made up for her error with a down-the-line attack, then Flora sent her next attack wide to hand the Lady Warriors a 23-21 advantage. A 1-2 play by MJ Igao trimmed the lead to one but Jasmine Alcayde came up with a clutch hit, and Soyud's last crosscourt attack went wide for Adamson.
It was a fitting end to the game as Adamson gave away a whopping 34 points off their own errors. UE also had a huge 59-45 lead in attacks, although the Lady Falcons had a 13-7 lead on blocks.
"Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na maglaro lang kayo nang maayos," said Dimaculangan. "Hindi naman natin kailangang ma-pressure."
Soyud finished with 20 points for the Lady Falcons, who are now the only winless team in the UAAP women's division. Flora added 15 points.
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