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UAAP squads book SSL semis tickets

Four University Athletic Association of the Philippines teams booked tickets to the semifinals of Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship.

University of Santo Tomas banked on rookies Xyza Gula and Regina Jurado to snatch the last Final Four berth in a thrilling five-set victory over University of the Philippines, 27-25, 26-28, 25-18, 22-25, 17-15, late Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The Tigresses set up a knockout semis showdown against unbeaten National University while the other Final Four pairing pits Adamson University against second round victim De La Salle University.

The Final Four is scheduled on Friday, 11 November, while the winner-take-all championship is on 19 November.

Earlier, NU booked the first semis ticket after sweeping Far Eastern University, 25-10, 25-17, 25-15; Adamson booted out University of Perpetual Help, 25-14, 25-16, 25-16; while La Salle decimated Ateneo de Manila University, 25-17, 25-23, 25-10, to take the first three semis seats.

Gula and Jurado stepped up in the absence of veteran Eya Laure, scoring 20 points apiece.

The duo delivered the back-to-back hits that wrapped up the grueling two-hour, 50-minute encounter.

“We just held on, did our best and refused to give up,” said Gula, who pounded 17 attack points including the down the line kill that pushed UST to its third match point advantage.

“We just want to prove that we’re not just rookies but super rookies. That we won’t back down from any challenge.”

Angeli Abellana put the Tigresses at first match point advantage, 14-12, but a catch-and-throw violation of UST in the next play followed by a kill block by Fighting Maroon Ethan Arce on Gula forced a deuce.

Gula answered with a down the line hit but UP captain Jewel Encarnacion knotted the score at 15 with a through the block smash.

Gula again hammered a kill from the left side before Jurado nailed the piercing crosscourt hit from the right corner for the finishing blow.

Abellana posted 16 points while Athena Abbu had 10 markers for the Tigresses.

Alyssa Bertolano led the UP with 18 points including 14 attacks, Joan Monares had 14 markers while Encarnacion finished with 10.

The Fighting Maroons slid to the classification round joining Perpetual, Ateneo, and FEU.

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