NAZARETH School of National University and University of Santo Tomas booked the first two Final Four slots in the girls division of the UAAP high school beach volleyball tournament at Sands SM By The Bay yesterday.
The Bullpups’ Kathrina Epa and Chantal Rodriguez disposed off La Salle-Zobel’s Irah Jaboneta and Gerzel Petallo, 21-11, 21-13, while the Junior Tigresses’ Vanessa Bangayan and Jullana Carreon carved out a 21-17, 21-17 victory over Far Eastern University-Diliman’s Nikka Medina and Mary Melony Amaro.
NSNU later dodged the upset axe in University of the East, as Epa and Rodriguez rallied from 4-8 and 8-11 deficits in the deciding set to turn back the hard-fighting duo of Chris Ann Susbilla and Dea Villamor, 22-20, 19-21, 15-13, to claim the twice-to-beat bonus in the semifinals.
Epa scored the go-ahead kill that shattered the 13-13 deadlock and Rodriguez produced the match-clinching service ace as the Bullpups raised their perfect record to 5-0.
UST also clinched the other twice-to-beat Final Four incentive with a 21-18, 21-10 win over Adamson’s Mary Grace Borromeo and Ayesha Juegos. The Junior Tigresses finished the single-round eliminations with a 5-1 card.
With Lorien Gamboa replacing Jaboneta to join forces with Petallo, La Salle-Zobel bested FEU, 21-14, 21-13, to move closer in making it to the semis with its 3-2 mark in third place.
The Junior Warriors, who earlier beat Ateneo’s Celina Vergeire and Ady Lasala in the morning session, 21-14, 21-14, fell to 2-3 card alongside the Baby Falcons in fourth spot.
The Baby Tamaraws bowed out of contention with their fourth loss in five matches.
In the boys division, UST and FEU bested their respective foes to claim the twice-to-beat Final Four incentive.
The Tiger Cubs’ Jay Rack dela Noche and Alexander Iraya topped UE’s Francis Babon and JM Apolinario, 21-14, 21-13, to stay perfect in six matches while the Baby Tamaraws’ Jelord Talisayan and Carl Cabatac improved to 5-1 following a 21-9, 21-11 romp of Ateneo’s Mikka Mendoza and Anjo Almadro.
UE dropped to 3-3 in a tie with NSNU and Adamson, making the race for the two remaining slots too close to call.
The Bullpups’ Jann Mark Pijo and Reymart Reyes overpowered UP Integrated School’s Brett Borja and Miguel Castro, 21-7, 21-14, while the Baby Falcons’ Jefferson Marapoc and Evander Novillo downed La Salle-Zobel’s Andre Espejo and Leinuel Crisostomo, 21-9, 21-16.
With their fourth loss in six matches, the Junior Green Spikers and the Blue Eaglets are on the brink of missing the semis.