UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas kept its hopes alive for a shot at the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four with a 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16 victory over also-ran National University in the UAAP women's volleyball eliminations yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Sisi Rondina came through with MVP-like numbers of 21 kills and 13 receptions as the Tigresses, banking on team effort, ended the eliminations with a four-match winning streak and 10-4 record overall.
The win also kept UST within reach of 10-3 La Salle, which will play Far Eastern University at 4 p.m. today, for the No. 2 slot.
A loss by the Lady Spikers to the Lady Tamaraws will give the Tigresses a chance to duke it out with the defending three champions in a playoff for the remaining twice-to-beat slot in the Final Four on Wednesday.
A La Salle victory, however, will relegate UST to No. 3 in the semifinals next weekend.
Ateneo, with a league-best 11-2, has locked up the first twice-to-beat berth in the Final Four, though its final elims ranking has yet to be determined.
Later, Adamson put an end to fellow also-ran University of the Philippines’ disastrous season with a 25-20, 25-23, 25-19, for a 2-12 card. The Lady Maroons, who looked like title contenders until a second set meltdown did themselves in, settled for a 6-8 mark in fifth place, matching their last year's record.
Regardless of the result today, the Tigresses made heads turn this year and are determined to carry on in their bid to reclaim lost glory.
"Siguro, ngayon talagang kakayod na. Kumabaga, nakatapak na kami sa goal namin, kukunin na lang namin,” said coach Kungfu Reyes.
UST achieved its first 10-win campaign since the 2010-11 season, when the Tigresses also finished with a 10-4 card.
It was also one of the league's biggest turnarounds, as UST could only muster a 4-10 record last year.
Not only Rondina and rookie Eya Laure, who chipped in 13 points, shone for the Tigresses.
Kaycee Galdones had four blocks to finish with seven points, starting setter Alina Bicar fired two service aces for a seven-point outing, Ysa Jimenez responded as a fourth set starter after UST yielded the third frame to contribute with four points, while libero Rica Rivera collected 16 digs and 11 receptions.