After faltering against last season’s finalists, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses broke into the win column with a straight-sets romp of the University of the East Lady Warriors 25-9, 25-22, 25-23 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Tigresses, who had gone through a tough duo of matches to start Season 79, found their bearings against the much-improved Lady Warriors. UST started the match with a flurry, taking a 19-3 lead thanks to Cherry Rondina’s and Pam Lastimosa’s serving. The Lady Warriors rifled off a late 6-0 run to salvage some momentum before the Tigresses ended the set with hits from Ej Laure.
Adjusting their lineup and rotation, the Lady Warriors erased a 13-20 deficit in the second frame and forced a 21-all deadlock. The Tigresses, however, had an ace, as Laure pounded the UE blockers for three straight points to bag another set.
UE came close to forcing a fourth set, stifling the UST offense for a two-point cushion that lasted until they had a 22-20 advantage. The Tigresses then sprinted to the finish line, taking five of the last six points to end the match.
“As of now, we’re still looking for a leader sa court – ‘yun na lang talaga ang wala sa amin kasi masasabi ko na wala na kami problema sa skills,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Kailangan namin ng masasabi nating go-to guy na nasa likod siya lagi nang mga teammates niya. Hopefully, lumabas na siya.”
Middle hitter Marivic Meneses led the Tigresses with 13 points off nine attacks, three aces, and a block. Open hitters Ej Laure and Sisi Rondina each tallied 12 markers.
The Tigresses (1-2) next face the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons (2-0) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“Every game na natira sa amin sa first round is very important na. Ang goal namin is to sweep the last games kasi lalabas na kailangan talaga namin gawin ‘yun to make the Final Four,” added Reyes.
Jasmine Alcayde and Mary Anne Mendrez paced the Lady Warriors with six points each. UE had only 18 attack points but poured in 10 serve aces.
UE (0-3) take on the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws (1-2) on Saturday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
UST (3) – Meneses 13, Laure 12, Rondina 12, Lastimosa 5, Cortez 4, Bicar 2, Pacres 1, Viray 1, Rasmo (L)
UE (0) – Alcayde 6, Mendrez 6, Abil Bendong 4, 4, Sta. Maria 4, Dacaymat 3, Rodriguez 2, Adorador 1, Catindig 1, Baliton 0, Olarve 0, Arado (L)