There has been a lot of discussion during the off-season about the parity of teams coming into the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament.
The standings towards the end of the first round reflect just that. While the Ateneo Lady Eagles take the top spot, the UST Golden Tigresses, the De La Salle Lady Spikers, and the FEU Lady Tamaraws are not far behind. Even the UP Lady Maroons are still in striking distance of a Final Four spot.
The tight competition brought out great performances from some of the top players in the league. Thus, here’s the UAAP Hot or Not List for Week 4.
Eya Laure and Cherry Ann Rondina (UST)
With UST Head Coach Emilio “Kung-Fu” Reyes planning on shutting down Milena Alessandrini for the season, bulk of the scoring will rest on the shoulders of both the rookie Laure and the graduating Rondina. They showed they are ready for the ready for the challenge in the two games they played last week.
In their first game without “Amiga”, Rondina was all over the place by scoring on 17 attacks and two blocks while Laure finished with 15 points in their straight-sets victory over the Lady Spikers.
They completed the encore with another victory, this time against the National University Lady Bulldogs. The 2018 PSL Collegiate Grand Slam Best Opposite Spiker led UST’s offense with 20 points while the four-time UAAP women’s beach volleyball MVP supported with 16 markers.
Their efforts, coupled with the resurgence of Dimdim Pacres, allowed UST to compensate for Alessandrini’s loss and match their win total from last season.
Celine Domingo (FEU)
Seems like her injury during the PVL Collegiate Conference is not bothering her anymore. Against her former team, Domingo tallied nine attacks, two aces, and six blocks. Yes, you read that right, six.
She completed a great week when she contributed 14 points, four off kill blocks, in the Lady Tams victory over the Adamson Lady Falcons. Domingo is on pace for an individual award at middle blocker and possibly proving that her inclusion in the Under-23 training pool is no fluke.
Kyle Negrito (FEU)
If there is one good problem FEU Head Coach George Pascua has, it’s that he has two skilled setters. But in their two games last week, the graduating Negrito had the upper hand in orchestrating the offense of the Morayta-based squad.
She finished with 17 excellent sets against UE and followed it with an impressive 32 against Adamson. Add to that her sneaky drop shots and it proves that she is giving extra effort to make her final collegiate volleyball year count.
Tin Tiamzon (DLSU)
Returning to the starting rotation for the first time this season, Tiamzon came to the rescue by scoring 10 points en route to being named Player of the Game.
With Cheng out indefinitely, the De La Salle faithful can breathe a sigh of relief that Tiamzon is always ready when her number is called.
Roselle Baliton (UE)
In their two games against FEU and De La Salle, the graduating middle blocker is still having a hard time in getting her groove.
Against FEU, the former Sta. Lucia Lady Realtor scored seven points coming off the bench in a loss. But against the Lady Spikers, Baliton finished with only one point and was not sent back in the game by UE head coach Karl Dimaculangan during the second and third sets.
Her contributions at middle blocker are badly needed if the Lady Warriors are to relieve some pressure off wing spikers Mary Anne Mendrez and Judith Abil.
Desiree Cheng (DLSU)
This is a surprise but her seven-point output during their straight sets loss to UST is uncharacteristic of the team captain.
Then during their game against UE, Cheng did not play due to an injury. It’s unclear when she will return. But being the fighter that she is, Cheng is raring to return and help the Lady Spikers clinch a Final Four berth.