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Lady Cards outlast Lady Pirates in a tie-breaker match, 3-2

Article by: Alexandra Isabelle G. Delavin
Graphics by: Cassius Klai C. Francisco and Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Back on their winning run, the Mapúa Lady Cardinals upset the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Lady Pirates in their third five-set match in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, 25-22, 16-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-12, and claimed the fourth solo spot in league’s current team rankings, last July 3, at the Paco Arena.

Brushing off their two straight losses, the Lady Cards kept their aggressive tactic in the first frame. With a back-and-forth tempo in the opening set of the game, Opposite Spiker Carla Gaudan’s quick retaliation to the Lady Pirates’ attack, followed by Open Spiker Therese Manalo’s service ace poised the red and gold squad to institute a lead. While the other Intramuros-based team attempted to even the score, Team Captain Jonina Fernandez’s excellent service, along with Gaudan’s forceful attack, slammed the door shut for the Lady Pirates and led the Mapúa volleyers to score the match point, 25-22.

The second frame started out slow for the team with a 3-8 run, but Setter Trixie Mae Gojol set the ball up for Middle Blocker Alyanna Nicole Ong’s spike to get past the Lyceum’s defenders. Refusing to give in to their nine-point disadvantage, the red and gold squad slowly regained their momentum with Middle Blocker Allyana Cruz and Manalo paving the way for the team to bounce back and catch up. Though the Cards boosted their attacks, they missed locking in the set, 16-25.

Tied with either team securing a set apiece, tension swept across the court as both Intramuros-based teams traded points during the first few minutes of the frame. As they entered longer rallies, Fernandez and Libero Wellamae Ortega's dives allowed Manalo to finish the rally. With the team struggling to maintain the stability of their attacks, Opposite Spiker Raina Verginio paced the team by piercing through the Lady Pirates’ base, followed by a service ace. Despite solidifying their floor defense, the Lady Cards handed the third set to the opponent squad, 18-25.

Altering their course of attacks, the red and gold squad took advantage of the holes in the opponents’ defense as Manalo executed two sharp back-to-back attacks. Equipped with better communication in the fourth set, the Mapúa volleyers relied on their killer instincts to take charge of the zones. Despite the opposing team’s efforts to steal the lead, the Lady Cards were quick to adjust their attacks, gearing towards a stable rally and extending the match. LPU’s error during Mapúa’s point set match gave away the fourth set to the Lady Cards, 25-18.

As the Lady Cards entered the last set, they showed no signs of rust as Ortega and Fernandez’s digs, along with the team’s consistent attacks, kept the Lady Pirates from matching their tempo. Living up to their mark as an undefeated team during five-set thrillers in the current season, the Mapúa Lady Cardinals emerged victorious with Ong finishing the game with a piercing attack on the other side, 15-12.

Fernandez powered the team with 15 points and 14 digs while Ong and Manalo contributed 14 points each. Ortega was also hailed as the Best Player of the Game after she made her presence known inside the court with 27 excellent digs and 17 receptions.

As for the Lady Pirates, Zonxi Dahab led the charge with 22 points. Her teammates Johna Denise Dolorito and Jewel Therese Maligmat handed in 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Breaking their tied record, the Lady Cards improved to a 4-3 win-loss stint, while the Lady Pirates dropped down to a 3-4 record.

The Mapúa Lady Cardinals will charge against the Colegio de San Juan De Letran Lady Knights tomorrow, July 6, at 12 NN, in the same arena. The remaining matches will still air on GTV and will be streamed live on the social media pages of NCAA Philippines and GMA Sports PH.

The Scores:
MU – Fernandez 15, Manalo 14, Ong 14, Gaudan 10, Babiera 8, Vergino 4, Espiritu 1, Ortega (L) 0, Gojol 0, Batac 0, Cruz 0, Bolandrina 0, Sy (L) 0, Dalida 0
LPU – Dahab 22, Dolorito 17, Maligmat 13, Perez 10, Tulang 7, Puzon 5, Belaro (L) 1, Toca 1, Sta Maria 0, Galeno (L), Topacio 0, Daya 0, Baroro 0, Manacap 0
Set Scores: 25-22, 16-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-12
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