LookBack: Inconsistent UST exits early
MANILA, Philippines -- The streak is over.
University of Santo Tomas missed the Final Four for the first time in 10 years, getting booted out by National University in a four-set pummeling last week to finish the season at fifth.
The ouster was unexpected, as the Golden Tigresses were tipped to be one of the strongest contenders for the crown after a strong showing in the 9th Shakey's V-League first conference, when they wounded up second behind champion Ateneo.
Alas, predictions did not ring true for the Espana-based squad, as coach Odjie Mamon and his wards obviously felt the graduation of legendary setter Rhea Dimaculangan and the inconsistent play of the veterans they thought would end their UAAP careers on a high note.
Now, the Tigresses and their legions of fans are left to wonder: What's next for the golden girls of UST?
Best: The emergence of their young spikers. Pam Lastimosa, Jessey de Leon and, especially, Carmela Tunay gave fans something to cheer for in Season 75, emerging from the shadows of their more experienced counterparts to deliver more than what was expected of them.
In a year that was as wild as a roller-coaster ride can be, the sight of Lastimosa, De Leon and Tunay going head-to-head against stronger opponents and winning their battles at times gives you something to look forward to next season.
Worst: The inconsistency of their veterans. So Maika Ortiz and Judy Caballejo did not go out the way we hoped they would do: with a bang and with a crown on their heads. Part of the blame can be thrown at the graduating duo after a relatively disappointing season when we saw Ortiz score less points (and a lot less runners) than she did in Season 74 and Caballejo fail to captain UST back to the semis.
A bigger disappointment, however, is Maru Banaticla, who, after scoring 15.5 points per game in 2011-12, could only muster a paltry 6.6 points in 2012-13 --- an almost 60% drop in production in a year she was expected to shine bright. It must've been the injuries or the general lack of training time, but we never saw the Banaticla that exuded so much fire and passion before that had fans call her "The Fighter."
No offense: The Tigresses experienced one of the biggest drops in numbers for a team in Season 75. After finishing as the best setting and attacking team in Season 74, UST fell to fourth and sixth, respectively, in those categories in this tournament.
The offense that generated an average of 46.9 points off attacks last year could only yield 41.1 this time, as Loren Lantin and rookie Alexine Cabanos combined for 26.5 excellent sets per outing. Dimaculangan averaged 36.6 by herself in Season 74 (and UST normed 40.6 as a team) and perfectly knew who to give the ball to in the Tigresses' once-vaunted attack. - Rappler.com