Volleyball: UST Tigresses reign again, sweep FEU Tams

December 3, 2009 8:06 am 

MANILA, Dec. 2 — University of Santo Tomas battled back from an opening set setback and survived a tough third set battle to repulse Adamson, 23-25, 25-12, 27-25, 25-19, Tuesday night and cap a successful season in the Shakey's V-League by winning the second conference crown before a thousand crowd at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Tigresses only produced a couple of double-digit outputs from skipper Aiza Maizo and rookie Maru Banaticla, who both had 16 hits, but they proved enough to foil the Lady Falcons’ bid to send the series into a winner-take-all affair.

With their net defense and reception holding, the Tigresses neutralized the Lady Falcons solid service, finishing with 15 blocks to fashion out the victory in 1:41 and complete a sweep of their best-of-three playoff.

"It was a total team effort. Even if we lost the first set and were down in the fourth, I told them to stay focused and help each other," said UST coach Cesael delos Santos in Filipino.

Maizo also capped a superb outing this conference by winning the MVP plum, closing out a banner season for the UST with five blocks.

She became the third UST player to win the MVP after Mary Jean Balse and Venus Bernal.

"I didn't expect to sweep both awards and help the team win the crown," said Maizo, who became the first player to bag both the conference and finals MVP.

Other awardees were: Adamson's Angela Benting (best scorer), St. Benilde's Giza Yumang (best spiker), Adamson's Pau Soriano (best blocker), FEU's Cherry Vivas (best server), FEU's April Jose (best setter), Adamson's Lizlee Ann Gata (best receiver) and Ateneo-OraCare's Stephanie Gabriel (best digger).

Earlier, Far Eastern U recorded its best-ever finish in the league, beating reigning five-time NCAA champion San Sebastian, 25-20,10-25, 25-11, 21-25, 15-10, to sweep their separate best-of-three series for third.

The Tigresses, who pulled off a 25-15, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory in Game One, thus swept this year's twin titles after nipping the San Sebastian Lady Stags in sudden death for the first conference crown of the league sponsored by Shakey's Pizza last June.

It was also UST's fifth championship overall in eight finals appearances, underscoring their domination of the country's premier women's volley league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa, Accel, Mighty Bond and OraCare.

The sweep of Season 6 titles also duplicated UST's feat in 2007 when it beat San Sebastian in two conferences to reign supreme in Season 4.

Adamson, which scored 12 service points to UST's four, came into the match all geared up and pounded out a tough win in the opening set behind Angela Benting solid spiking.

But the Tigresses put their act together in the second set, thwarted the Falcons in the third before pouring it all in the fourth to complete the victory.

Benting finished with 21 points while Jill Gustilo had nine service points and wound up with 17 hits for the Falcons. (PNA) LDV/LOR/pr

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