by Kristel Satumbaga
University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Far Eastern University (FEU) torched the service lane in besting their rivals on Saturday to bolster their Final Four bids in UAAP women’s volleyball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigresses sizzled with 10 aces including three from rookie Ysa Jimenez in edging the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16, while the Lady Tamaraws exploded for 16 aces in outlasting the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons, 25-21, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22.
Both UST and UP hiked their records to 7-4 for joint third place, just half a game behind defending champion La Salle (7-3).
UST’s victory also eliminated UE from the semifinal race after skidding to its ninth defeat in 11 matches.
UP slipped to 6-5 to put its semis bid in peril.
Jimenez came off the bench to provide reinforcements for UST and finished with 10 points as Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina led the assault throughout with 14 and 11 points including combined 21 kills.
“Luckily, may panibagong player na nag-step-up and that’s the beauty of this team,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes, adding that giving his bench players heavy minutes when needed most built their confidence.
Heather Guino-o, meanwhile, anchored FEU by pumping in 22 points built on 18 spikes and four aces while Jerrili Malabanan fired 15 hits to finish with 17 points.