Photo by Maegan Gaspar

Text by Luisa Morales

The Lady Maroons just can’t seem to bounce back.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons faltered in today’s Battle of Katipunan, losing in straight sets against the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles, 20-25, 22-25, 26-28 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Giving Ateneo their first sweep of the season, the Lady Maroons skid to a 1-4 record after losing four in a row.

A back-and-forth affair

It was a tight race during the opening set. Despite a 4-0 start by the Lady Eagles, UP recovered fast courtesy of a flurry of attacks from Tots Carlos and Isa Molde and led in the first technical timeout, 8-7.

Both teams exchanged attacks throughout the set but ADMU managed to pull away in time to draw first blood, 25-20.

Comeback falls short

The Lady Eagles took control once again in the start of the second, leading the Diliman-based squad 8-3 at the first technical timeout.

Numerous errors from State U and spectacular offense gave Ateneo a comfortable lead for most of the set.

Just when ADMU looked poised to run away with the second, the Lady Maroons suddenly caught fire.

Taking advantage of consecutive Ateneo errors, UP crawled back into the set. Despite the tremendous comeback and saving two set points, ADMU still managed to take a 2-0 lead.

Plagued by errors

During the third, it was UP’s turn to start strong but errors from the Maroon side kept ADMU close.

However, bad news came for the Lady Maroons when a bad fall resulted in middle blocker Jessma Ramos spraining her right ankle in the middle of the set.

Determined to take a set and extend the match, UP played at pace with the Lady Eagles.

Both teams traded attacks and errors resulting in 15 deadlocks in the final set. Despite saving two match points and reaching a set point of their own, costly errors eventually gave Ateneo the match, 28-26.

Ultimately, errors spelled the difference in the game. UP had eight more errors than their opponents, 26-18. While the squads remained almost equal in every other aspect of the match.

Carlos and Molde paced the Lady Maroons, scoring double figures with 20 and 16 points while Jules Samonte and Jhoanna Maraguinot led the Lady Eagles with 15 and 11, respectively.

“We play to win, not only play well. Because playing well never gives results, winning gives results,” UP head coach Godfrey Okumu said after the game.

Okumu reiterated that his team is in the rebuilding phase and will be facing another challenge after losing Ramos for more or less a week because of injury.

The UP mentor also remains optimistic despite the four-game losing streak. “I believe if we push just a little more like the way we pushed today, there will be different results” he added.

UP hopes to snap their losing streak when they go against Sisi Rondina and the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

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