UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas sophomore spiker Cherry Rondina eclipsed two-time reigning MVP Alyssa Valdez in the best scorer race at the end of the first round of eliminations in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Cebuana, who registered a season-high 30 points during their match against Adamson, finished with a total of 129 points in seven matches, while Lady Falcons stunner Jessica Galanza nabbed second place (118), followed by Far Eastern University sophomore Toni Basas (116), three-time best scorer Valdez (113), and UST skipper EJ Laure (106).
But while two Lady Tigresses comprise the league's top five scorers, UST remains at the lower half of the pack with a 3-4 card for a three-way logjam with National U and Adamson in the fifth spot. Valdez’s Ateneo is still on top (6-1), while La Salle is at second (5-2), University of the Philippines and FEU share the third spot (4-3), and the winless University of the East are at the bottom of the standings.
Meanwhile, Ateneo sophomore open spiker Jhoana Maraguinot tops the best spiker contest with a 43.97 percent success rate, followed by NU middle blocker Jaja Santiago (41.27). Coming in third is Valdez (40.59), while Laure (36.72) and Basas (36.09) are in a tight competition for the fourth spot.
La Salle's Mary Joy Baron leads all players for the best blocker honor at the end of first round. Baron is at the top spot with 1.04 average block per set, while her fellow Lady Spiker Mika Reyes norms 0.70 blocks per set, Ateneo stalwart Bea de Leon registered 0.55 average block per set and FEU’s Mary Palma, Santiago and Adamson’s Mary Joy Dacoron are tied with 0.52 average block per set.
After falling to second spot, Ateneo sophomore Maddie Madayag reclaimed the lead in the best server department with 0.73 average ace per set, while La Salle veteran setter Kim Fajardo is close behind with 0.70 average ace per set, followed by Valdez (0.59), Rondina (0.54) and Basas (0.52).
Dawn Macandili of La Salle proved she’s the best defensive specialist at the end of first round with 3.13 average digs per set, followed by Kathleen Arado, last year’s co-Rookie of the Year to Laure, with 2.64 average digs per set, Jellie Tempiatura of Adamson holds the third spot (2.30), NU libero Bia General is at fourth (2.08) and Rondina, the lone spiker in the top five, is within striking distance at fifth (2.07).
Fajardo, the league’s back-to-back best setter, is looking to extend her reign as she tops the best setter race with 8.17 average excellent set per set. Ateneo’s Julia Morado, a consistent runner-up behind Fajardo for this award, is again in second place (7.18), followed by UP’s Jewel Lai (6.27), Adamson’s Fenela Emnas (5.78) and FEU’s Gyzelle Sy (5.48).
Arielle Estranero is currently the best receiver with 35.17 efficiency rate. Second place belongs to Macandili with 30.72 efficiency rate, followed by General (26.97). Ateneo’s Jamie Lavitoria (22.69) and Arado (19.64) round out the top 5 best receivers so far in the season.
Second round of elimination starts on Saturday with UE against Adamson followed by the faceoff between La Salle and FEU.