Tigresses set out as heavy underdogs

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas will head into their UAAP women's volleyball championship series against Ateneo as heavy underdogs.

For one thing,  the Tigresses were swept in their elimination round head-to-head with the Lady Eagles. For another,  the España-based squad has not yet beaten its counterpart from Katipunan in seven years.

Ateneo last tasted defeat from the hands of UST on Jan. 15, 2012, a 25-14, 21-25, 19-25, 23-25 setback, where Loren Lantin delivered a splendid job in orchestrating plays in lieu of injured starting setter Rhea Dimaculangan, and since then, has won 14 straight matches.

Aside from trying to end her personal winless spell against the Lady Eagles, Sisi Rondina, the Season 81 MVP contender, wants to cap her checkered collegiate career with a title.  

The high-flying Rondina has won four beach volleyball titles but never in indoor play.

“Ang natutunan ko sa limang taon, sobra ‘yung ’di ka titigil sa pangarap mo. Walang susuko,” said Rondina. “Sabi ko nga first year ko pa lang, gustung-gusto ko ng makakuha ng Finals appearance, hindi lang naman Finals ang goal ko talaga.”

The Tigresses are gearing up for one last push in the league's biggest stage, as they are two more victories away from ending a nine-year title drought.  

Game 1 is set at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Sobrang sarap sa feeling na mayroon ka rin pa lang kasamang hindi rin tumitigil sa pangarap na gusto nila. Nag-connect kaming lahat and tatrabahuhin namin ito, kukunin namin. We will claim it,” said Rondina.

For coach Kungfu Reyes, with UST's rallying point #KamiNaman, he hopes that all the frustrations will come to an end by winning it all.

After all, the Tigresses were coming off from one of their worst seasons ever and made a huge turnaround this year.