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Laure, Meneses departure ‘blessing in disguise’, says Reyes



Photo by Kennelf Monteza/TomasinoWeb

Facing a tough setback as a team, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses remain unfazed on their quest for another successful campaign this UAAP Season 80.

UST head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes and the rest of the Tigresses will encounter their most challenging hurdles this season – the crucial loss of EJ Laure who was forced to sit out this season due to shoulder injury, and Ria Meneses who decided to forego her final playing year.

“Well-seasoned player na ito [si Meneses]. Talagang aasahan mo na talaga especially last year na niya… suddenly nag-iba ng desisyon na gusto na lang magconcentrate sa pag-aaral so wala naman kaming magagawa kundi respetuhin ang ganung bagay.”

“Then yung kay EJ, mas masakit kasi malapit na [yung Season 80]. Noong papunta na kami para sa camp, nagkaroon na ng problema,” he explained.

UST will also miss the presence of Alex Cabaños and Pam Lastimosa after exhausting their playing years last season.

Despite the sudden departure of their two key players, everyone in the team stepped up during their preparation which, according to Reyes, became a “blessing in disguise” for UST.

“Nagdadatingan yung mga hindi mo inaasahan na mag-step up tapos may nadagdag pa sa lineup so malaking bagay para sa atin,” he added. “Nakikita namin na hindi namin masyadong mararamdaman yung pagkawala ng dalawa.”

Last saeson, the España-based squad booked a return trip to final four for the first time since Season 74, where they placed third before bowing out against then defending champion La Salle in the semifinals.

UST also found success in the UniGames in Dumaguete where they defeated the Lady Archers in the finals.

However, Reyes aims to surpass their achievement from last year which is to claim a twice-to-beat advantage by exerting effort in every game ahead of them.

“Hopefully Final Four, pero kukuha tayo ng twice-to-beat advantage, kaya sa ngayon trabahuin natin one game at a time,” he quipped.

Spikers Cherry Rondina and Mary Dominique Pacres will lead the charge for the Tigresses, while Carla Sandoval, Tin Francisco, Caitlyn Viray, and newcomer Mallena Alessandrini are expected to consistently improve as well.

“Iba pa rin kung nandiyan sila [Laure and Meneses], pero yung bench namin every rotation matibay kahit sinong ipasok mo siguradong gagawa at gagawa ng puntos,” he assured.

The Golden Tigresses will try to surpass La Salle on their opening bout this Saturday, February 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.



Tigresses maul Lady Bulldogs

The UST Golden Tigresses made quick work of the NU Lady Bulldogs in the second round of the UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament Saturday.




The UST Golden Tigresses made quick work of the National University Lady Bulldogs, 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16 in the second round of the UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan Saturday.

Both teams opened the game with good starts and failed to get the upper hand at each other up until the final moments of the first set before the Tigresses closed it out at 27-25.

The second and third sets were like opposites in terms of energy for both teams. UST slugged it out and nipped NU on the second set with roaring offense and floor defense, finishing the set 25-17.  The third set saw UST relax and lose their ground as NU takes the set 20-25

The fourth and final set saw UST’s momentum return and once again claim 10 points. The Tigresses leaned on their one-two punch of Rondina and Laure as they ice the game 25-16.

After the game, Coach Kung Fu Reyes stated that despite the third set collapse, it was important that his team got the win and at this point they will just be polishing their overall game.

“At the end of the game kami naman yung nanalo so kailangan lang namin ulit i polish yung mga dapat namin na i correct pa. Yun ang kailangan ulit gawin pag balik namin sa ensayo namin.”

Sisi Rondina poured in a game high 21 points to go along with Player of the Game honors, while Eya Laure chipped in her own 13 points.

For the Lady Bulldogs, Ivy Lacsina led the team with 19 markers of her own and rookie Princess Robles had 14 points.

With the win, UST now improves to 10-4 and has a shot for at least a playoff for the number 2 spot if La Salle loses to FEU in their final eliminations encounter on Sunday.


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Golden Tigresses tamed by Lady Spikers

The UST Golden Tigresses succumbed to the De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the second round of the UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament.



golden tigresses blocking a lady spiker spike
Photo by Ralph Estrella

The UST Golden Tigresses succumbed to the De La Salle University Lady Spikers, 25-21,23-25,19-25, 24-26 in the second round of the UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay Sunday.

UST began the game with a good opening salvo, capped off with double aces from super rookie Eya Laure. The Tigresses were able to lead early on with Kecelyn Galdones closing the set with a block.

The Tigresses fell early on the second set 18-11, before pouncing their way to inch closer but to no avail as the Lady Spikers claim the second set.

UST went to have a good start in the third set leading 11-9, before tapering off with La Salle’s attack efficiency and several errors from the Tigresses paving the way for the Lady Spikers to take the set.

The fourth set was a back and forth affair with the two teams not giving an inch until the final deuce at 24-all. The Lady Spikers’ defense proved to be too much as they take the game at the last moments of the set.

Rookie sensation Eya Laure chipped in 20 points for UST, while Sisi Rondina poured in 19.

For the Lady Spikers, captain Des Cheng had a career high 20 points.

With the loss, UST falls to 6-4 in solo fourth place, while LaSalle solidifies its hold on the second spot at 7-3.

The Tigresses will look to bounce back against the UE Lady Warriors on April 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.


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Ateneo Lady Eagles upset the UST Golden Tigresses

The UST Golden Tigresses was stunned by the first-seeded Ateneo Lady Eagles in 5 sets, Wednesday Afternoon to open the 2nd round of UAAP Volleyball.



lady eagles spike blocked by golden tigresses
Photo by Christine Tapawan

The UST Golden Tigresses was stunned by the first-seeded Ateneo Lady Eagles in 5 sets, 25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 22-25, 11-15, Wednesday Afternoon to open the 2nd round of UAAP Volleyball.

The Tigresses won the first two sets but could not sustain their good start for the rest of the match.

UST had a good run in the middle of the third and fourth set but the Lady Eagles’ defense helped them to win the sets.

The graduating Sisi Rondina tops the scoring for the Golden Tigresses having 35 points, followed by the rookie Eya Laure who tallied 21 points.

“Wala naman kasing nananalo ng 2 sets. Pero all in all, maganda kasi naka kuha pa din kami ng 2 sets. Ito yung talo na hindi bumagsak balikat namin. Talo kami kung wala kaming natutunan”, UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes stated.

Maddie Madayag’s combination of offense and defense lead the  Ateneo Lady Eagles with a total of 23 points banking on 11 blocks.

UST dropped to 5-3 record after this loss.


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