DEFENDING champion University of Sto. Tomas earned an outright finals berth in the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament after sweeping the seven-match elimination round.
The UST tandem of Sisi Rondina and Caitlyn Viray defeated Far Eastern University duo of Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, 22-20, 17-21, 15-13, on Thursday at MOA Sands by the Bay to complete the elims sweep.
Rondina, who won the title with Jem Gutierez last year when Viray was still a reserve, says there is a lot of work to be done before they can celebrate.
“Syempre mas maganda kung makukuha namin ang gold spot,” said the hard-hitting spiker from Cebu.
UST cruised to a 6-2 lead early in the third set before Pons led a fightback and tied the contest, 6-6.
The Tigresses were poised to win the match, 12-10, but their own miscues gave hope to the Lady Tams, 12-12.
Viray then took over and scored three of the last four points of the match to carry UST back to the finals.
“Magandang experience 'yun para kay Cait na baguhan pa lang kasi sobrang tough ng labanan, sobrang tough kalaban ang FEU talaga, kanina buti nga naka-isa kami,” said Ronda.
“Kung ayaw nila magpatalo lalong lalo na kami. Alam mo ’yung andoon si Pons, andito ako, gusto talaga namin manalo,” she added.
La Salle, University of the Philippines and FEU battle in the stepladder semifinals.
La Salle was to face UP later Thursday with the winner taking on twice-to-beat FEU on Friday before the finals.