MANILA – University of the Philippines Lady Maroons clinched the 2018 Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference crown after a 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13 win over Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday night at the San Juan Arena.
Tournament and Finals MVP Isa Molde led the way with triple-double 22 points, 22 excellent digs and 22 excellent receptions, while Marian Buitre and Maristela Layug had 12 points each for Lady Maroons.
Bacolodnon setter Arielle Estranero also made her presence felt with 28 excellent sets to go along with 6 points for Lady Maroons, which took home their first major title since ruling the UAAP women’s volleyball in 1982.
From a tight exchange early in the first set, Lady Maroons slowly pull away as they turned a slim 14-12 edge to a 5 points spread. Molde then warded off Lady Tamaraws’ repeated rally to clinch the set.
UP fell behind early in the second set but managed gain the advantage at 20-15 on back-to-back service aces by Molde. FEU attempted to bounce back but their errors allowed Lady Maroons to take the set.
After failing to close out Lady Tamaraws in the third and fourth set, Lady Maroons fell in a huge hole early in the fifth frame but managed to equalize at 13-all on hits by Molde and Roselyn Rosier. Back-to-back hits from Molde and Estranero ended the match.
“Late in the fifth set, they (FEU) are more tensed. They were out of timeout just like us. It was the mind strength again that pushed us through. I think eventually we came out stronger mentally,” said Lady Maroons head coach Godfrey Okumu.
Rookie Lycha Ebon led the way with 13 markers, while Jerrili Malabanan and Jeanette Villareal had 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Lady Tamaraws, which played without injured star middle blocker Celine Domingo./PN