Mela Tunay stays positive that UST Tigresses can still make Final Four despite heavy odds
Mela Tunay looks to finish her UAAP career with another taste of Final Four action. Dante Peralta

GRADUATING University of Santo Tomas open spiker Mela Tunay remained optimistic even as the Tigresses are on the brink of missing the Final Four of the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.

UST dropped to the sixth spot after losing to Far Eastern University, 25-20, 20-25, 15-25, 20-25, on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.

The loss dimmed the chances of the Espana-based spikers to make the semifinals for the first time in three seasons. But Tunay kept her head up even as the Tigresses could only hope for fortunate events beyond their control to keep their Final Four stint alive.  

“Hindi na namin kontrolado (ang semis chances namin) ‘yun naman ‘yung initial reaction namin eh kundi ma-frustrate at malungkot,” she said.

“Pero tinuturuan kasi kami ni coach (Kungfu Reyes) na ‘yung reaction namin chain ‘yun eh lalo na kami, kaming seniors,” she added. “Kung kami mismo magpakita na, ‘ah Diyos ko wala na ‘to ‘bat pa tayo magte-train, ‘bat pa tayo lalaban?’ Ano na lang ‘yung maa-adopt sa amin ng mga bata ‘di ba?”

UST will rely on the outcome of the games of University of the Philippines, FEU and National U to get into the Final Four.

UP and FEU are currently tied at the third spot with a 7-5 card, behind semifinalists La Salle and Ateneo, which hold identical records of (9-2), while NU is at fifth (6-6).

UST will have a chance for a play for a playoff if it will win its last two games against NU on April 3 and UP on April 10, and should the Lady Bulldogs lose their next two games, while either of the Lady Maroons or the Lady Tamaraws lose one of the last two games for a tie at 7-7.

The 20-year old volleybelle, though, only had a taste of a Final four appearance on her rookie year in Season 74, but she quickly turned emotional in looking back to her past seasons.

“Once (lang ako sa Final Four) tapos the rest puro playoffs tapos laglag. Actually ‘yun ang pumapasok sa isip ko paulit-ulit,” said Tunay as tears slowly welled on her eyes.

“Kasi we really worked hard for this pero ‘bat parang hindi nagbubunga or nagbubunga man parang kulang ang parang bottom line na nararamdaman namin is puro panghihinayang,” she added. “Talagang masakit. Ako sa game (against FEU) nahihikbi na ako.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada