Rondina sparks late rally as UST stuns NU in 5 sets
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Cherry Rondina breathed life into the UST Golden Tigresses in the 5th set and outlasted the NU Lady Bulldogs, 25-14, 25-18, 17-25, 19-25, 15-12, in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament on Saturday, February 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rondina dropped 21 points on top of boundless energy as UST rallied from an 11-6 deficit in the final frame all the way to the win and a 2-3 record.
"She's our sparkplug," head coach Emilio "Kung Fu" Reyes said of the second year outside hitter in Filipino.
Rondina, who has displayed much of her fire and tenacity on the court since last season, was all over the floor for UST down the stretch. She soared for the strongest kills, defended a powerful angled cross-court attack from Myla Pablo, and was steady from the service deck through the Tigresses last points.
Skipper EJ Laure also posted 21 points while veteran Mela Tunay had 13 markers including 3 blocks.
The Tigresses, riding on momentum from their first win against the UE Lady Warriors on Wednesday, packed just enough punch in the final set after blowing a 2-0 lead early and allowing the Lady Bulldogs to force the 5th set.
UST trailed the entire 3rd to 5th sets and only took the lead for the first time at 13-12 in the final period on an opponent error.
"That was my instruction," Reyes said. "My final instruction to them in the 5th set was, 'are we going to crawl once again, or are we going to stand up after falling down?' They responded although we were playing catch-up until the end."
Jaja Santiago led NU with 23 points while Myla Pablo added 20 markers.
The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 3-2. – Rappler.com