UAAP Volleyball

Season shocker: UST deals NU first loss since 2020 in 5-set thriller

Philip Matel

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Season shocker: UST deals NU first loss since 2020 in 5-set thriller

GRITTY. UST star Eya Laure carries the Tigresses to their biggest win early in the season.


After blowing a 2-0 set lead, the UST Tigresses pull through in the deciding fifth frame to stun the longtime unbeaten NU Lady Bulldogs

MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas scored a monumental upset against defending champion National University, averting a late collapse against the powerhouse squad in five hard-fought sets, 25-23, 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 15-11, on Saturday, March 4, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Golden Tigresses claimed their second win of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament, shattering the Lady Bulldogs’ 20-game win streak in the process, as both teams’ records forge a triple tie with Adamson at 2-1.

NU started its lengthy winning stretch just before the pandemic, with UST coincidentally also being the last team to defeat the Lady Bulldogs on April 27, 2019 in four sets, 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16. 

The Lady Bulldogs completed a rare 16-0 season sweep last year, capturing the school’s first volleyball championship in 65 years.

Trailing 2-5 in the fifth set, UST uncorked a massive 8-1 run capped off by a rejection of skipper Eya Laure against towering NU star Alyssa Solomon, drawing jubilation from the team and a sizable number of yellow-clad supporters.

Laure ended up with 18 points, built on 14 attack points and 4 rejections. She also made 14 excellent digs. 

Rookie Regina Jurado also came up big for UST with 18 markers, while Milena Alessandrini overcame a right foot injury and dropped 14 points, including some big ones in the deciding set.

The Fil-Italian outside hitter was helped and limped to the bench during the fourth set, drawing tears and concern from the almost 8,000 spectators. 

“The flow of the game was full of ups and downs, those are the undertakings that we can overcome,” said UST head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes, Jr.

“When we lost our middle, that was when we really struggled because our middle provided stability,” he added.

UST’s composure prevailed in the first two sets, as they sent rumblings that the defending champions could be swept in straight sets.

However, the championship mettle of NU emerged, powered by the well-placed hits from Solomon in the middle, which was backed up by the steady play of reigning MVP Bella Belen.

NU led by as many as nine in the third set in total domination of the frame. The Lady Bulldogs kept some breathing room before allowing their opponents to knot the game at 22-all.

Errors and some timely hits sent the game to the deciding set, ending it in a 3-0 blast.

Solomon paced the Lady Bulldogs with 22 points, while Belen provided 17 markers.

Before absorbing their first loss, the Lady Bulldogs already flirted with disaster in their last outing when they survived a five-setter against the Adamson Lady Falcons last Wednesday. –

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