Believe in it or not, destiny sided with the University of Santo Tomas today.
After their Softbelles took down a historic streak, the Tigresses claimed an unlikely upset over the smouldering De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
La Salle held leads late in each set, only for UST to fearlessly rally back. The Tigresses erased an 18-20 lead in the first set, then rallied back from a 17-21 hole to escape with the second frame. The Tigresses kept the third frame closer until their own errors vaulted La Salle ahead, 18-14. But UST’s defense held tight one last time. Getting stops and good passes, UST went to different attackers to force an 18-all deadlock. From there, the Tigresses utilized combination plays to get the best of La Salle, going to a differential play for Ej Laure to end the match.
“Siguro maganda lang ginising ng mga player,” a still in awe UST head coach Kungfu Reyes said after the match. “Talagang maganda naman nilaro ng mga bata ngayon, sa kanila dapat ‘yung credit. Kung anuman, taga-sigaw lang ako tsaka taga-gawa ng substitutions.”
UST team captain Ej Laure tallied a team-high 13 points, with eight excellent receptions, while her fellow sophomore Cherry Rondina added 11 markers and 10 digs.
Former MVP Ara Galang towed the Lady Spikers with 15 points and 10 digs. This season’s breakout star, Majoy Baron, compiled 10 points on five attacks, four blocks, and an ace.
UST now stand in the middle of a crowded race for a Final Four slot at 3-4, tied with Adamson University and the National University. DLSU are in solo second place with a 5-2 record, just ahead of the 4-3 University of the Philippines and Far Eastern University.
UST (3) – Laure 13, Rondina 11, De Leon 8, Francisco 5, Tunay 4, Teope 3, Cortez 2, Bicar 0, Cabanos 0, Rivera (L)
DLSU (0) – Galang 15, Baron 10, Reyes 5, Dy 3, Fajardo 2, Cerveza 1, Luna 1, Tiamzon 1, Demecillo 1, Esperanza 0, Soyud 0, Macandili (L), Saga (L)