UST stuns La Salle, seizes twice-to-beat semis bonus
MANILA, Philippines – The UST Golden Tigresses came out dominant from the get-go to stun the La Salle Lady Spikers in 4 sets, 25-14, 25-13, 23-25, 25-19, and claim the No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat semifinal advantage in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball wars at the jampacked FilOil Flying V Centre on Wednesday, May 1.
On Labor Day, the Tigresses outworked the Lady Spikers behind the solid plays of skipper Sisi Rondina and rookie sensation Eya Laure.
For the first time in a decade, the Lady Spikers dynasty heads into the Final Four without an advantage while the Tigresses clinched their best finish since Season 73.
Rondina led UST anew with a staggering 29 points off 25 attacks, 2 blocks and 2 aces.
Defending champion La Salle and UST disputed the last semifinal bonus after finishing tied at 10-4 at the end of the elimination round.
Both squads will clash again in the Final Four on Sunday with the Tigresses needing only one win to advance to the championship round.
No. 1 Ateneo, toting the other twice-to-beat edge, battles Far Eastern University in the other semifinal pairing on Saturday.
UST set the tone in the opening set with a dominant 25-14 performance on the back of Rondina’s patented kills.
The Lady Spikers found no answers to the Tigresses’ unrelenting offense in the 2nd set either as UST cruised to a 10-0 run, 15-7. La Salle tried to claw back into the frame as UST sat at set point, but Laure eventually sealed the deal, 25-23.
With La Salle down 0-2 against the UST underdogs, captain Des Cheng rallied her troops to a 6-1 lead off an ace and a Jolina Dela Cruz block. However, UST roared back with a 7-1 run heading to the first technical timeout.
Both teams traded points before La Salle survived the 3rd set, 25-23, off a UST hard hit.
The Tigresses wriggled free anew from the comebacking Lady Spikers with a 5-1 run in the 4th set, 15-12. The tireless Sisi Rondina then pummeled two more hits as UST sailed to a 19-13 gap.
Rondina turned unconscious in the end game as Laure sent La Salle packing, 25-19.
Super rookie Dela Cruz paced La Salle anew with 12 points while Des Cheng and May Luna added 9 markers apiece. – Rappler.com
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