Golden Tigresses upset NU, back into final four
Four years of waiting is finally over as the Golden Tigresses paved their way in the Final Four
The University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses secured their final four ticket after bucking a slow start to dispose the National University Bulldogs 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-12, in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament, Saturday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Team captain Cherry Rondina and EJ Laure both scored 22 points for UST while Christine Francisco introduced herself to NU with 11 points.
Lady Bulldogs overwhelmed the Tigresses right off the bat as they powered an 8-0 run early in the opening set, 16-9. An EJ Laure kill sparked a 5-1 rally late in the set saw UST cut the lead to four, 20-24, but Jorelle Singh placed NU up one set, 25-20.
UST were at pace in the second set taking a comfortable 17-12 lead but Jaja Santiago uncorked 13-2 run to break the Tigresses’ momentum and took the set, 25-19.
Tigresses were able to bounce back in the third set with a 7-2 blitz highlighted by back-to-back cross court kills from Laure and Rondina, 20-15.
Lady Bulldogs would try comeback late in the canto with a 5-2 salvo to put their squad within striking distance, 23-22, but a service error from Santiago and an off the block kill from Laure gave the set to UST, 25-22.
The Tigresses would repeat in the fourth set as they led NU by as much as eight, 16-8. A resilient NU would make an 8-1 run of their own late in the frame to cut the lead to two, 18-16. But crucial NU errors forced the game to a rubber set, 25-21.
In a tightly fought fifth and deciding set, UST had the upper hand at 12-8. A Santiago cross court kill would ignite a run to cut the Tigresses’ lead down to one, 13-12. Rondina and Dimdim Pacres provided the finishing touches of the match to seal the deal for the Espana-based squad.
“Ayun nga iba na ang istorya ng laro, this is semi-finals, hindi basta basta susuko ang both teams, basta kung sino ang kukurap, kaya sa dulo gitgitan kami,” UST head coach Emilio “Kungfu” Reyes Jr. said.
The Golden Tigresses ended the elimination at third place with 9-5 win-loss record and will start their postseason against the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers on Saturday, Apr. 22, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Photo by Kennelf Monteza/TomasinoWeb