UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) pulled through in a thrilling decider to carve out a 25-20, 27-29, 13-25, 25-19, 17-15 victory over Adamson University and zero in on third place honors in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Sunday.
Fil-Italian hitter Milena Alessandri hammered in 24 kills and came up with six kill blocks and an ace for a whopping 31-hit output, taking over from Eya Laure in the stretch as the Tigresses out-steadied the equally tough Lady Falcons to steal the opener of their best-of-three series for third.
UST actually clinched the last three points and the hard-earned victory on Adamson’s miscues, including back-to-back net violations that enabled the Tigresses to escape with the win in a back-and-forth match between the top two teams to emerge from the slims but which lost to lower seeded rivals in the Final Four of the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Laure starred in UST’s fightback from 7-9 down in the fifth, scoring all but one of the team’s next four points, including an ace that shoved the Tigresses to the top at 11-9.
But the Lady Falcons, who swept the eliminations but fell to the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons in the semifinals, fought back with key hits from Eli Soyud and Chiara Permentina, only to bow in the end on miscues.
Alessandri scored three points to push UST ahead, 14-13, before Permentina tied it with a kill. A miscommunication between Adamson’s setter and spiker then gave UST a 15-14 edge then after the Lady Falcons forced another deuce on a kill block, the Tigresses took the next two points—and the match—on Adamson University’s net violations.
UST guns for the clincher on Wednesday.
Earlier, National U rallied from a set down and foiled UST, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-17, to move closer to claiming the men’s crown in the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Bulldogs struggled with their reception early then pounced on the Tigers’ string of miscues late in the second set to draw level. The reigning UAAP champions, who placed fourth here last year, then reasserted their might in the last two frame to complete the four-set win in the opener of their best-of-three title series.
Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong combined for 30 hits with the former spiking his superb outing with 12 excellent receptions and the latter adding four kill blocks and an ace for NU, which also drew nine markers from Francis Saura and eight points from rookie Angelo Almendras.
Playmaker Kim Dayandante tallied 24 excellent sets for the Bulldogs, who actually faced the specter of going 0-2 set down at 22-23 in the second frame. But the Tigers made three straight errors, enabling the Bulldogs to snare the set and gain momentum.
The Tigers, who got 17 points from Manuel Medina and a combined 27-hit output from Joshua Umandal and Jayvee Sumagaysay, committed 37 errors.