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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.

READ  Tigers bow down to UE, suffer fourth straight loss

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 pick apart NU in four sets



Photo by Genelaine Urbano

The University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses pulled a shocker against the NU Lady Bulldogs, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-9, to keep their Final Four bid alive in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.

Tied at 5-all in the fourth set, the España-based squad took advantage of NU’s defensive woes, unleashing a whooping 20-4 surge to easily close the game with a lopsided victory, 25-9.

UST’s net defense overwhelmed the Lady Bulldogs as the Tigresses tallied 12 total blocks compared to NU’s five.

UST Head Coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes highlighted his players’ major improvements on the game, but he stated that the process doesn’t stop with their latest win.

“This time medyo nagiging maganda ang resulta ng mga pinaghihirapan namin, at halos lahat ng mali naicocorrect na namin,” he said. “Pero hindi naman kami tumitigil doon siyempre.”

“Every game, nag-concentrate kami at pinagbubuti ng bawat players yung mga ginagawa nila, especially sa mga roles nila,” Reyes continued.

UST had the comfortable edge in the first set after capitalizing on NU’s eight errors, 22-19.

However, NU took advantage of UST’s collapse down the stretch, rallying a 6-0 run to reach the set point, 22-25.

Cherry Rondina led the Tigresses with 25 points while Milenna Alessandrini registered 19 markers.

NU’s Jaja Santiago scored game-high 27 points in a losing effort.

UST’s second straight victory now earns them a 4-7 win-loss slate, while NU’s second-round woes continue after suffering their fourth straight loss.

“Nakuha naman namin ang respeto sa mga sarili namin especially doon sa mga bata na ‘to, kasi sila talaga yung nakataya diyan,” Reyes explained.

READ  Growling Tigresses bank on early preparation in UAAP

The Tigresses will try to continue their momentum against the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Apr. 4, Sunday, at the same venue.


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Golden Tigresses halt losing streak, clobber Lady Maroons



Photo by Audrey Janelle Fontilla/TomasinoWeb

The University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses ended their five-game losing skid versus the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 19-25, 30-28, 25-20, 25-16, in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan Saturday.

Down by two points in the latter part of the second frame, 21-23, UST climbed back to lead, 24-23, to inch closer into winning the set.

The two teams battled back and forth until UST finally won, 30-28, to even the score at one set apiece.

It was a defensive play by UST with blocks from Milena Alessandrini that gave them the lead early in the third set, 4-1.

The Tigresses lead by eight points, 15-7, midway through the set before UP exploded with seven straight points to close the gap, 15-14, but UST flipped the switch to finish the set strong, 25-20.

The España-based squad leaned on their balance effort in the fourth set and sealed the match, 25-16.

“Individually and as a group malaking bagay yung panalo na ‘to, masyado na kaming nabugbog eh. Ang importante is hindi talaga kami susuko,” UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes stated.

Coach Kung Fu highlighted the play of his reserve player, Mia Dizon, for her stellar play inside the court.

“Siya [Dizon] yung nagbigay ng additional reinforcement sa amin, di man siya umaatake nang ganon kalakas, di naman siya nagtatapon at malaking tulong siya sa depensa,” Reyes mentioned.

Star player Cherry Ann Rondina said that she huddled the team before the match to talk about what needs to be done to gain a win and halt their losing skid.

READ  UST Growling Tigresses falter vs Ateneo in season debut

“Sabi ko sa kanila huwag niyong pasikatin ‘yung Sisi [Rondina] lang. Gusto ko ‘yung pangalan ng school natin and walang isang tao [lang] na magtratrabaho,” Rondina uttered.

The Tigresses’ next game will be against the National University Lady Bulldogs on Sunday, Mar. 25, at the same venue.


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UST Galvanize rules Street Dance Competition; Prime fails to reach podium

Senior high’s street dance team Galvanize bagged their first UAAP tournament championship.



Photo by Audrey Janelle Fontilla/TomasinoWeb

The University of Santo Tomas took split wins as Galvanize brought home the championship in the Juniors division of the UAAP Season 80 Street Dance Competition at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday, while Prime fell short in the Seniors division landing in fourth place.

Galvanize finished with a score of 82.30 points while the FEU Baby Tamaraws Dance Company and the UE Street Warriors settled for second and third place with 71.50 and 71.10 points, respectively.

“Everything is possible with God,” UST head coach Chips Beltran stated.

In the Seniors division, the Zoo-themed Prime landed in fourth place with 75.40 points behind third-placer UP Street Dance Club with 78.60 points.

The FEU Street Alliance claimed the championship with their mafia-inspired performance amassing a total of 85.75 points while De La Salle Street Company, last year’s champion, gave up the title and landed second with 79.50 points.

“Para sa akin isa ‘yun sa mga gusto kong runs nila [Prime], one of their best runs and satisfied ko after nila magperform,” Assistant Coach Meeko Evangelista said. “Basically ginawa lang namin kung ano kami, kung saan kami sanay and ano yung ginagawa namin talaga.”

This year was the first time that the competition included high school teams from different universities.


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