Reaction: UST Golden Tigresses triumphant against NU

The FEU Lady Tamaraws and UST Golden Tigresses have nothing in common other than their gold color and their neighborhood. Come Sunday, they will be united in cheering against the De La Salle University Lady Spikers. The Espana crew is hoping that their counterparts from Morayta will topple the towers of Taft to keep their twice-to-beat hopes alive.

Rondina for MVP, Laure for ROY?

The graduating outside hitter from Compostela, Cebu got 21 points from this match, all off attacks. Rondina finished the eliminations with 259 points for an average of 18.5 per outing. She scored in double digits and all of her matches and tied Alyssa Valdez’ single-game scoring record of 35 points. Credentials like these strengthen her case to become the beach volleyball and indoor volleyball MVP in the season.

On the other hand, Laure tallied 13 markers against NU to end the double-round prelims with 230 scores for a 16.4 points per game clip. Together with Rondina, they are the main factors why UST is the top attacking team in Season 81. Given that UAAP individual awards are based on stats alone, the spiking duo are the rightful Season MVP and Rookie of the Year, respectively.

Ten victories

UST reached the Final Four of Season 79 with only nine wins. Fast forward to this season, the current Golden Tigresses sealed their tenth win of the season which they last experienced in Season 73. Back then, the likes of Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, and Aiza Maizo still donned the black and gold. That squad reached the Finals for the second straight year, only to bow against the De La Salle Lady Spikers in two games. The now Maizo-Pontillas was named Best Scorer and Best Receiver of that season.

Steady game for Bicar

The veteran setter played well in her first start in the second round. Bicar made seven points, including the game-winner, to go with 21 excellent sets. Perhaps, this is Coach Kung Fu Reyes’ way of instilling confidence to her playmaker. On her part, she responded with her strongest outing in the tournament.

That’s a lot of errors

The Golden Tigresses had just three more points when attacks, blocks, and aces are combined for each team (60-57). However, the Lady Bulldogs committed 37 errors while UST only had 26. That’s more than nine free points per set without breaking a sweat for UST. Had NU limited their mistakes, they would have put up a better fight in this contest.

Doria finally gets her time in the limelight

No question that NU got a talented crop of rookies this season. But they won’t be able to navigate the rigors without their team captain. After being a second stringer, Doria did not waste her opportunity on center stage. She finished her final UAAP season with 131 points, 37 off blocks. The pride of Pangasinan was able to plug some holes with her all-around performance and on-court leadership.

What now for UST and NU?

UST marches to the Final Four even though their ranking is not yet settled. Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs end their season at 4-10 but they gave other teams a tough time. The ceiling for this young but talented squad is scary for the rest of the league. Fans and experts will expect a jump in their performance come Season 82 with a year of experience under the belt. Joyme Cagande and Risa Sato’s return would be a boost in their quest for a Final Four return.