MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses blew a two-set lead but recovered just in time to beat the Adamson Lady Falcons in 5 sets, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6, in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament on Sunday, February 17, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Just when UST seemed headed to a straight-set win, a gritty Adamson side staged an incredible comeback – even surviving multiple set points – to force a deciding frame.
But the Tigresses made sure it's all UST in the 5th set as they zoomed to an 8-3 start on the way to an opening-game win.
Rookie Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina led the team with 17 points apiece.
It was UST’s first opening-game win in 7 years since the Tigresses won over La Salle in 2012.
“Nagkaroon na lang ng breaks of the game sa dulo, pero noong 5th set naman, nanalo kami. So panalo pa rin. Yun ang importante,” said UST head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes, who also registered his first opening-day win in 4 years at the helm.
(It was just the breaks of the game in the end, but we won the 5th set, so it’s still a win and that’s what’s important.)
Eli Soyud tallied 13 markers off 7 attacks, 4 blocks, 2 aces to lead the Lady Falcons.
The Tigresses finished off the first two sets strong after capitalizing on the Lady Falcons' errors.
But Adamson denied UST an easy win as the Golden Tigresses collapsed with errors towards the end of the 3rd frame.
Adamson blasted to an 8-4 start in a bid to stay alive and although the Golden Tigresses rallied back with a 10-1 run to lead by 4, 17-13 – and even saved 3 set points – the Lady Falcons proved steadier in the final stretch.
Rondina powered the Tigresses, but Soyud had back-to-back blocks to close out the 3rd in the Lady Falcons' favor.
Just when the Tigresses again seemed headed for the win in the 4th set, the Lady Falcons staged another rally and a crucial error by Caitlin Viray allowed Joy Dacoron to score 4 straight points to bring it to a deciding set.
The Golden Tigresses built on a 5-0 start in the 5th set as UST regained its footing and sealed the game with a Milena Alessandrini attack. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.