UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas achieved its best first round performance in nine years while University of the Philippines halted a two-match slide in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure teamed up for 32 points as the Tigresses extended their perfect run to three games with a 25-18, 25-14, 25-20 conquest of a listless University of the East side.
The Lady Maroons rebounded from a recent defeat with a 25-27, 25-14, 25-12, 25-21 victory over Adamson.
With its fifth win in seven matches, UST moved in a tie with defending champion La Salle in second place behind Ateneo’s league-best 6-1 card.
Now level with Far Eastern University in fourth spot at 4-3, the victory will definitely bring back UP’s morale after consecutive losses to Ateneo and National University.
The Tigresses’ first round mark is the best since they also finished at 5-2 during the 2009-10 season where the España-based squad eventually finished second to the Lady Spikers.
”Maganda pa rin ang puwesto namin kahit papaano. Noong nagi-start kami, nagsisimula kami 0-2, 1-3, 2-3. Talagang naging maganda ang naging development ng team namin ngayon,” said coach Kungfu Reyes, as UST was able to overcome Milena Alessandrini’s season-ending knee injury.
“Heto na nga, at least nandoon kami sa top three so far first round. At 5-2, maganda-gandang motivation ito pagpasok ng second round,” he added.
The Tigresses’ 1-2 punch of Rondina and Laure were efficient in their attacking game, thanks to Mafe Galanza’s able distribution of plays. Rondina went 16-of-34, while Laure tallied 11-of-23.
”Si Mafe na iyan,” said Reyes, crediting the rookie setter’s job of giving high percentage attempts for Rondina and Laure. ”Inilalagay niya ang most comfortable position ng spiker. Yun ang pinakamagandang trabaho ng setter.”
Tots Carlos and Isa Molde each scored 14 hits while Marist Layug chipped in 11 markers for the Lady Maroons, who allowed the Lady Falcons to save four match points in the fourth set before eventually pulling through to avoid a reprise of their meltdown against the Lady Bulldogs.
”We won. But again, our finishing,” said UP coach Godfrey Okumu. “In the fourth set, it was little more challenging but we managed to finish well.”
In the men’s division, Lloyd Josafat had 16 points, including the back-to-back clutch blocks that propelled UE to a stunning 27-25, 24-26, 25-23, 18-25, 17-15 victory over UST, negating Wewe Medina’s 30-point outburst.
“Hinihintay ko lang talagang pumasok si Lloyd (Josafat). Mas malaking factor sa amin si Lloyd kapag nasa loob kasi yung height advantage na yung labanan. Mas malaki yung blockings namin, para hindi pumasok yung bola sa amin. Mas may harang kami. Hinihintay ko lang na kapitan, makapasok lang si Lloyd, siguro ito sa amin ito,” said coach Victor Toring after the Red Warriors collected their only second win of the season.