Rattling off another double-digit outing, the UAAP’s Cebuana hotshot, Cherry Rondina, came off the bench and led UST to a straight-set win, 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 over the NU Lady Bulldogs at the MoA Arena.
Rondina led all scorers with 15 points and bannered a 43-27 spike advantage for the Thomasians. UST’s pair of graduating spikers, Pam Lastimosa and Mela Tunay, pitched in eight points apiece.
The Tigresses played rusty to start the match, giving away four points of errors that pushed NU to a 10-3 lead. UST coach Odjie Mamon injected Cherry “Instant Offense” Rondina from there, sparking a 4-0 run for the Tigresses. The Lady Bulldogs quelled UST’s run as Jaja Santiago’s powerful hits kept them in front, 14-8. UST again tweaked their lineup, fielding Chlodia Cortez for Tunay. Cortez drilled in three straight spikes that tied the set at 19-19. A Thomasian run followed Santiago’s rotation to the back row. NU struggled to score with Myla Pablo giving away two points off attack errors which allowed UST to steal the set.
NU’s role players wrested away control of the second set early, taking a brief 11-9 lead. Rondina lit the fuse on another UST run that had her team pull away, 22-17. UST team captain Lastimosa drove her squad to its second set win with two late attacks.
A flurry of UST attack errors kept the third set close, but stellar offense from the Tigresses afforded them a 13-11 lead. The high-flying Rondina bombarded NU’s defense for six of UST’s 15 spikes in the set.
NU’s Santiago struggled to drill home most of her spikes but still wound up with 14 markers off eight spikes and five blocks. Pablo cost her team crucial points and was subbed out after the first set. Pablo reentered the game late in the second set but did not play the third. She ended the game with seven markers.
After starting the season at 1-5, the Tigresses have now rolled to a 4-5 record, tied with NU for the last two spots in the Final Four. UST will face FEU this Saturday while NU has UE on Feb. 7.
UST- Rondina 15, Lastimosa 8, Tunay 8, Laure 6, Meneses 6, De Leon 5, Cortez 3, Cabanos 1, Dusaran (L) 0, Rasmo (L) 0
NU- Santiago 14, Pablo 7, Singh 6, Dadang 4, Abriam 3, Mandapat 2, Doromal 1, General (L) 0, Valdez (L) 0