The UST Junior Tiger Spikers snagged an all-important win while the Junior Golden Tigresses faltered against rivals NUNS Lady Bullpups to end the elimination round of the UAAP Season 86 High School volleyball tournaments on Jan. 27, at the Adamson Gymnasium.
The Junior Spikers thwarted the DLSZ Junior Spikers, 25-16, 25-22, 25-11, to keep their Final Four chances alive and improve to an 8-6 standing.
The win assured the Junior Spikers at least a knockout match if the Adamson Junior Falcons wins against the FEU-D Baby Tamaraws on Jan. 28. Otherwise, UST will occupy the fourth seed.
The Tiger Spikers eked out a couple of 4-0 runs to pull away early in the first set as DLSZ yielded to UST's net defense.
As UST deployed its second-stringers, the Junior Spikers kept it close in the second period until a 6-3 finishing burst propelled the Junior Spikers on the verge of a sweep.
UST never let up, jumping to a 13-point cushion early, and never looked back for the straight-set win.
Junior Golden Tigresses yield to Lady Bullpups
Later in the afternoon, the Junior Golden Tigresses fell short late, losing to the NUNS Lady Bullpups, 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 16-18, to force a tie in the third seed.
The Lady Bullpups, along with the Junior Golden Tigresses, now hold an 8-4 slate.
Currently, at 8-3, FEU-D Lady Tamaraws would have to win against the undefeated Adamson Junior Lady Falcons on Jan. 28 to avoid a three-way tie for the second spot and a stepladder Final Four format.
In the case of a three-way knot at the 8-4 record, the tournament seedings will be determined through the UAAP quotient system.
The Tigresses had three chances to close out the game in the fifth set, but the Lady Bullpups relied on Den Daylisan, who scored four of the last five points for NUNS to snatch the victory.
Daylisan delivered on back-to-back attacks to complete the winning deuce.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the matchup as NUNS and UST won alternate sets to come down on a decider.
After struggling to start the game, the Lady Bullpups picked up their pace through a 7-0 run in the first set to take the driver's seat and draw first blood.
UST then secured the second set after a 10-4 finishing burst.
The third set saw NUNS overcome another mid-set slump, overwhelming the Tigresses with a slew of attacks and blocks from Celine Marsh to take the third period.
UST's bench players stepped up in the fourth set as Kimberly Rubin and Abigail Sinson lifted the Tigresses late to set up the decider.
UST led 9-7 and 14-12 in the fifth set before the Lady Bullpups leaned on Daylisan's heroics to steal the victory.