THE reigning volleyball champions fortified their grip of the top spots in the ongoing eliminations of the 72nd University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) at the Arena in San Juan.

Weekend volleyball hostilities show defending men's champion University of Santo Tomas (UST) growling for a 10-1 win-loss record after disposing Ateneo de Manila in only 52 minutes.

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Quarter scores marked a complete sweep for the Growling Tigers 25-18, 25-10, 25-18, a reversal from their nail-biting victory over the Blue Eagles last December 12.

“Hopefully we can sustain this kind of game until the next round. We need to raise the intensity of play as other teams continue to improve,” said Tigers coach Emil Lontoc.

Veteran hitters Hendry James Pecana, Jayson Ramos, and John Paul Torres scored 10 points each to lead the UST Growling Tigers to the victory which sent the Blue Eagles down to solo fourth spot with a 5-6 win-loss slate.

Pecana also tallied three blocks while skipper Ray Karl Dimaculangan gave two service aces to bag the win for the Espana-based squad.

Team captain Andre Joseph Pareja and Narciso Intal combined for 14 points to banner the losing cause of the Katipunan-based spikers.

Perennial contender Far Eastern University Tamaraws meanwhile easily beat a sliding Adamson University Falcons to register its ninth win in 11 games.

Quarter scores are 25-17, 25-12, 25-21 for the Tamaraws, who only needed 54 minutes to demolish the Falcons.

Adamson dropped to the cellar as it suffered its ninth loss against only two wins.

Nestor Molate topscored for the George Pascua-mentored Tamaraws with 12 points and 12 hits while Rodolfo Labrador chipped in 11 points and two blocks in the victory.

Diober Reyes meanwhile led the losing effort for the Falcons with 10 points, six hits, two blocks and two service aces.

Immaculate at 11

In the distaff side, the De La Salle Lady Archers clinched the “twice-to-beat” bonus in the “Final Four” in the tournament by disposing of sixth-running University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons in a four-set showdown.

The Lady Archers bucked an opening set loss to sweep the Lady Maroons in the next three sets, 23-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-18 to keep an immaculate record (11-0) in the league.

Three volleybelles posted double figures led by skipper Stephanie Mercado with 23 points and 20 hits while Jacqueline Alarca contributed 22 points, 17 hits, two blocks and three service aces.

Completing the double-double cast for the Taft-based tossers is Charleen Cruz who chipped in 14 points,I ncluding four service aces.

The Lady Archers were able to pull through in the one hour, 26 minute match despite allowing the Lady Maroons to score more blocks, 11-14, which is the first this season.

Rookie Angeli Araneta had 13 points while Eileen Quejas added nine markers, including five blocks, for the Lady Maroons, who suffered their seventh setback in 11 outings.

With the loss, UP is now two and a half games behind Adamson and Ateneo, both sporting 6-4 cards, in the race for the last semifinals berth.

Earlier, the UST Tigresses inched closer in taking the second semifinals berth by scoring a repeat over University of the East, 25-18, 25-19, 25-12.

Football, baseball

In other sports, UST sustained its lead after the first round in men's football at the Ateneo field.

Mar Oscar Mangcal scored the marginal basket in the 72nd minute, giving the Tigers 13 points on four wins and a draw after four matches.

UST coach Marjo Allado expressed happiness with his young team whose veteran players sustained injuries lately.

“I like their attitude and character in the first round. Our target is to reach the finals and so far, we are halfway there. But I expect the other teams to adjust against us in the second round,” said Allado of the 2007 champions.

On the other hand, UP banked on ace hurler Vladimir Eguia as the Fighting Maroons extended its winning ways to five with a 9-6 victory over Ateneo in the UAAP baseball at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Diamond.

Eguia took over the chores from struggling Stephen Anonuevo and Jojo Apura and defeated the Blue Eagles in the final four innings to seal the win.

UP improved to 5-1 while Ateneo, which had eight errors as against only two by UP, absorbed its sixth straight loss. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)