By Ricky Manliguis
SAN JUAN— Not even losing a set for the first time this season can rattle the red-hot University of the Philippines.
State U claimed its fourth straight victim as it overwhelmed UST, 25-22, 25-22, 29-31, 25-19, in the first game of Sunday action in the UAAP Season LXXIX women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil- Flying V Centre.
Riding the momentum after its emphatic win over defending champions La Salle on Wednesday, the Lady Maroons bucked the third frame meltdown with a dominant fourth frame behind its potent mix of veterans and sophomores to remain atop the leaderboard with a perfect 4-0 record.
The win also extended UP's mastery over this year's hosts to five games dating back to Season 77.
After a tight first two sets, the girls from Katipunan uncharacteristically dropped the third after battling back from an 18-22 deficit, blowing three set points during the stretch. Isa Molde committed an offensive miscue to give UST the set.
UP were even down 3-6 at the onset of the fourth, before Diana Carlos and Isa Molde conspired for a 16-11 advantage. Cherry Rondina kept the fight for the Tigresses as her hit trimmed the gap to 21-18, before Molde finished off the game with a service ace.
Carlos once again led the UP offensive, drilling 16 of her 18 points on kills. Molde had a 14-point outing, while Nicole Tiamzon chipped in 13.
Marian Buitre also made her presence felt, as she and Aeshia Gannaban both produced seven points.
For UST, the loss was the team's third on four outings. EJ Laure topscored with 18 points, while skipper Rondina and Chloe Cortez each issued 12.