UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas squandered a two-set lead before pulling of a 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6 victory over a gritty Adamson side in its UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball debut on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
After threatening to put away the match in straight sets, the Tigresses gave up the third set on a maze of errors and blew a 24-21 lead in the fourth, allowing the Lady Falcons to force a decider.
The Tigresses got their acts together just in time behind senior Sisi Rondina, who led a 5-0 start to the final set before cruising to a 13-4 spread.
Rondina, who struggled with sloppy attacking errors in the third and fourth sets, was quick to atone in the fifth set and finished with 17 points built on 15 kills. She also had 17 digs to lead UST in the first game of her final season.
“Ako yung nawala kanina, and yun yung dapat na hindi gawin,” Rondina said. “Thankful pa rin ako kasi andyan si Eya [Laure], andyan si Milena [Alessandrini], lahat nag-cover up sa akin. Yan ang matatawag kong team talaga. Binalik ko yung tiwala ko sa sarili ko kanina. Natakot ako kay Coach Kungfu [Reyes].”
Rookie sensation Eya Laure delivered 13 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 17 markers, while Milena Alessandrini added 15 points off 10 spikes, three service aces and a pair of blocks.
Reyes lamented the Tigresses lapsed into complacency in the middle sets - something which he said they can't afford against the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Bern Flora scored 14 points and had 18 excellent receptions and 13 digs for the Lady Falcons. Eli Soyud and Chiara Permentilla chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Libero Thang Ponce had 29 digs and 27 excellent receptions while rookie setter Nikka Yondoc made 34 excellent sets in her debut.
Adamson tries to bounce back against three-time defending champion De La Salle on Saturday next week.