UAAP Volleyball

Record-setting UE rookie Dongallo hopes to turn big numbers to wins

Philip Matel

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Record-setting UE rookie Dongallo hopes to turn big numbers to wins

SUPER ROOKIE. UE's Casiey Dongallo continues to impress in her UAAP volleyball debut.


UE's young star Casiey Dongallo unleashes 30 points, the most scored by a rookie in UAAP women's volleyball

MANILA, Philippines — Casiey Dongallo, UE’s star recruit, has been on a scoring tear to start her maiden UAAP volleyball campaign.

After dropping 27 points in the Lady Warriors’ opening-day victory against Ateneo last February 17, the wing spiker poured in 23 points in a loss against UST last February 21.

But there’s still no stopping Dongallo as the super rookie set a new league record, erupting for 30 points in the Lady Warriors’ 22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-27, 15-11 loss against the FEU Lady Tamaraws on Sunday, February 25, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Dongallo’ 30, the most for a rookie in modern league history, eclipsed the 28 points set by reigning Most Valuable Player Angel Canino in La Salle’s 25-17, 25-27, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9 victory against Adamson in April 2023.

The rising UE star’s longtime teammate, Kizzie Madriaga, provided some great playmaking with 16 excellent sets, setting up some timely hits for Dongallo.

“We all know that our partnership goes back to high school as Casiey served as my hitter, and we always went to her when we needed to score at a crucial time,” Madriaga, the team’s rookie team captain, said after the game.

Expectations are now growing by the day for Dongallo, who admits feeling the outside pressure, with the Lady Warriors falling to a 1-2 slate.

“Pressure has not wavered every game, I’m just thankful that my coaches are there to support me” said Dongallo. “Kizzie had been telling me to just play my game, and once I enjoy it, the pressure lessens.”

Dongallo has always been a heralded player even before playing her first collegiate game, leading California Precision Sports to the top of the PNVF Champions League and the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational League.

When UE got the commitment of Dongallo, Madriaga, Jelai Gajero, and Shamel Fernandez in July 2023, they were seen as rookies who could quickly turn the fortunes of a volleyball program needing a massive revival.

Despite the early pressure and spotlight, Dongallo vows to stay even keeled and help UE secure more wins, and eventually, to its first Final Four appearance since UAAP Season 69 in 2007. 

Dongallo understands the need to be patient. On Sunday, amid her scoring explosion, the Lady Warriors still bowed to the Lady Tamaraws, who had Gerzel Petallo and Faida Bakanke picking up the scoring cudgels in the deciding set, with the duo finishing with a combined 32 points.

Leading 23-21 late in the fourth set, FEU allowed the California Academy product to score 5 successive attack points to force the decider, 27-25.

In the fifth, with renewed vigor, the Lady Tamaraws quickly piled up points against the young Lady Warriors squad, going up 8-3 courtesy of some key attacks from Chenie Tagaod.

“Our composure didn’t hold [in the fourth set], we focused too much on emotions, and probably that’s why [UE] claimed [the set],” FEU head coach Manolo Refugia said.

Bakanke, the Congolese rookie, scored the game-winning cross-court attack, ending up with 14 points for the contest, with Petallo adding a game-high 18 markers.

“Going to the fifth set, we changed our mindset since we changed what was needed, so we got what we wanted,” added Refugia as FEU improved to 2-1. 

For Dongallo, it’s another opportunity to learn. But while she’s getting ready for more scoring explosions, down the line, she aims to translate more of her big numbers to much-needed wins. —

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