LYCEUM of the Philippines University made quick work of Mapua, 25-21, 25-11, 25-16, to keep its Final Four hopes alive in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Coach Emil Lontoc was satisfied with the way his Lady Pirates got the job done in their one-hour, six-minute duel with the Lady Cardinals.
"Well, expected naman namin iyan since alam ko yung kalibre ng players ko. Medyo advantage kami doon," said Lontoc.
"Talagang naghahabol kami kasi yung pagkatalo namin ng five sets (against Letran last Friday), talagang dapat panalo," he added.
Later, sophomore Cathrine Almazan dropped a season-high 30 points, including two service aces and two blocks, and collected 12 digs as Emilio Aguinaldo College ended a long and agonizing 16-game losing streak with a 21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 15-8 tripping of San Sebastian College.
Raising its record to 3-4 to tie idle Jose Rizal University in sixth place, LPU moved one-and-a-half game behind San Beda (4-2) in the race for the last semifinals berth.
The Lady Pirates' realistic chance of advancing to the next round is win their last two matches, including the Feb. 14 date with the Lady Red Spikers, and get favorable results along the way to forge a playoff for the No. 4 slot.
"Basta every game, naghahanda naman kami. We will doing our best. Ipapakita namin na yung team ay talagang may chance para sa top four talaga," said Lontoc.
Ciamelle Wanta was solid for LPU with 12 points and 10 digs, while Monica Sevilla had two blocks and two service aces to finish with 11 points.
Alexandra Rafael also scored 11 markers while setter Venice Puzon tossed in 13 excellent sets to go with nine digs and two service aces.
The setback to the Lady Knights showed the Lady Pirates' weakness in closing out matches.
"Yung maturity," said Lontoc, as LPU is winless in three five-setter games this season.
It was the Lady Generals' first victory since beating the Lady Pirates, 25-14, 25-21, 23-25, 17-25, 15-11, on Jan. 31, 2018.
Enduring a winless campaign in her rookie year, Almazan was so happy to get over this hump.
"Masaya, kasi ang sabi ni coach (Rod Palmero), ito ang chance na umangat tayo. Yun ang sinasabi sa amin na kaya namin lahat basta magtiwala lang sa sarili," said the 20-year old Almazan, who also became the first EAC player to produce a 30-point game.
Skipper Alissa Magallanes had two service aces to finish with eight points while Lorraine Barias scored three of her six points from the service zone to go with eight digs and three receptions for Mapua.
The Lady Cardinals have now lost in five in a row and sixth overall in seven matches to tie the Lady Generals and the Lady Stags in last place.
Jamille Carreon paced San Sebastian with 19 points, including four service aces, while Shane Requierme contributed 12 points and 14 digs.