Giving significant playing time to all their players, the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses waltzed past the University of the East Lady Warriors, 25-21, 25-15, 25-23, for their fifth win of UAAP Season 79 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Unlike past seasons, UE proved a pesky a challenge to the Final-Four aspiring UST. Still, the Tigresses showed maturity and composure when they needed it most, which head coach Kungfu Reyes appreciated.
“Makikita mo na nakukuha na nila ‘yung maturity, nag-uusap na sila. Sabi ko lang naman sa kanila na enjoyin nila ‘yung laro and talagang nagagawa na nila. May momentum na kami, sana tuloy-tuloy lang ‘to,” Reyes said.
The Tigresses showed poise down the stretch of the final set. After UE erased their five-point lead and forced an 18-all tie, the Tigresses buckled down and re-established a two-point cushion, 21-19. To end the match, the Tigresses pulled crucial points from UST high school products Ej Laure and Tin Francisco.
Francisco and graduating veteran Pam Lastimosa led UST with 10 points apiece. All of the Tigresses’ spikers scored in the match.
With their fourth straight win, UST improve their record to 5-3, tied with the National University for third place. They face the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles (6-1) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Eagles tormented UST in the first round, but Reyes believes his team has changed dramatically since opening day.
“Malaki na ang pinagbago nang mga players namin. Nandoon na ‘yun pag-uusap na hinahanap namin sa kanila. Siguro, kung sino na lang ang maganda ang gising sa Wednesday ang may edge,” Reyes expressed.
Skipper Shaya Adorador towed the UE offense with 13 points which includes three aces that brought them back in contention for the third set.
The Lady Warriors (1-7) take on the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons (4-3) also on Wednesday.
UST (3) – Francisco 10, Lastimosa 10, Laure 7, Viray 7, Sandoval 5, Rondina 4, Cortez 3, Meneses 3, Pacres 2, Palec 2, Cabanos 1, Bicar 0, Rasmo (L), Rivera (L)
UE (0) – Adorador 13, Abil 6, Alcayde 6, Mendrez 5, Gabrada 3, Sta. Maria 2, Baliton 1, Bendong 0, Catindig 0, Dacyamat 0, Arado (L)