Big hole in UST Tigresses' defense as Ria Meneses to sit out fifth and final year
Ria Meneses will be sitting out his fifth and final season with the UST Tigresses. Dante Peralta

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas standout Ria Meneses will not play her fifth and final year with the Tigresses in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament.

The towering middle blocker confirmed that she will no longer see action for the Tigresses in the collegiate volleyball season, which kicks off either in late January or early February.

“Hindi na po ako maglalaro, personal family matters po (ang reason),” said Meneses while declining to comment any further.

The niece of PBA great Vergel Meneses, in fact, no longer joined the Tigresses in their back-to-back title romp in the recently concluded Unigames in Dumaguete.

Meneses currently plays for Petron in the Philippine Super Liga but has not had as much success at UST under coach Kungfu Reyes, who has cited the player's 'lack of consistency and aggressiveness.'

Team officials said they won't ask Meneses to stay on if the UAAP Season 77 best blocker doesn’t want to stay anymore.

Veterans Sisi Rondina, EJ Laure and skipper Shanen Palec are expected to take the lead for UST, which last won a UAAP volleyball title in 2010 with a team bannered by Angge Tabaquero, Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz and Dindin Santiago.

The Tigresses have not come close to a championship in two seasons under Reyes, but made the Final Four the last time out.

With Meneses out, Palec and Christine Francisco are ser to be the team’s middle blockers.

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