The University of Santo Tomas brushed aside a deflating loss in the series opener, venting their ire on the Ateneo de Manila University, 24-26, 25-18, 25-17, 25-17, in Game Two of the 2019 PVL Collegiate Conference semifinals, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“Last time [Game One], kami yung wala sa laro eh. Physically present kami, pero distracted lahat kami. Mentally, lahat ng instruction — actually kahit simpleng instruction lang hindi nila masunod,” UST head coach Kungfu Reyes recalled.
“This time, at least nahimasmasan sila noong training nila ng nakaraan. Mas relax[ed] na sila, so na-identify na nila yung strength namin. Doon kami nag-concentrate sa strength namin,” he continued.
Behind the offensive brilliance of the UST troika of Janna Torres, Imee Hernandez, and Eya Laure, the Golden Tigresses unloaded an offensive onslaught to even the series count at 1-all.
Torres spearheaded the charge for the Tigresses. She hammered down 14 points built on 10 attacks and three kill blocks. Hernandez complimented her with 10 hits and an ace to finish with 11 markers.
Meanwhile, the younger of the Laure sisters churned out an all-around performance. The UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year chimed in 10 points — spiked by three service aces — while collecting 14 excellent digs and four excellent receptions.
EJ Laure, who’s slowly returning to her lethal form, mirrored her sister’s production. She had a well-rounded outing of her own with eight markers laced with 13 excellent digs.
Rachelle Roldan and KC Galdones were also instrumental in the four-set conquest, chipping in seven and six points, respectively. Meanwhile, UST setter Mafe Galanza dished out 13 excellent sets.
While the Golden Tigresses delivered a balanced scoring thrust, the pivotal match came down to who had fewer errors.
In the end, UST were the more efficient squad. They had 19 miscues to Ateneo’s 38, including the crucial infraction from Faith Nisperos in the fourth set that completely tipped the scales to the Golden Tigresses.
Down by just a solitary point at 14-15, Nisperos tried to incite a surge for the Lady Eagles but she muffed the opportunity with an attack error. This then changed the complexion of the game, as the Golden Tigress pulled away with a 7-3 stampede for a commanding 23-17 advantage that put UST in the lead for good.
Vanie Gandler topped the scoring charts with 15 markers anchored on 13 attacks, to go along with 16 excellent receptions.
Nisperos chipped in 12 points, while Erika Raagas and Jules Samonte managed 11 markers apiece. Ateneo playmaker Jaja Maraguinot tossed 21 excellent sets on top of nine excellent digs and three points.
The do-or-die Game Three is slated on Sunday, October 6, at the same venue.