UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas ended its streak of futility against Ateneo in style, scoring a 25-17, 25-16, 25-20 victory in the opener of the UAAP women’s volleyball title series on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The well-rested Tigresses scored their first win over the Lady Eagles in seven seasons, ending a 15-match losing streak and moving closer to ending a nine-year title drought.
Sisi Rondina, soon to be named season MVP, led the Tigresses with a game-high 23 points off 20 attacks, two blocks and an ace as she came a win away from fulfilling her promise to deliver a championship to UST before she graduates.
“Yung burden na naramdaman ni sisi medyo kailangan namin siyang i-push to the limit, yun ginagawa namin sa kanya,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Hindi na namin siya kailangan pigain kasi may mga tao na tumutulong sa kanya she can play her game.”
Rondina also had 12 digs and five excellent receptions, while rookie of the year Eya Laure delivered 11 points with nine attacks. UST’s dynamic duo provided 29 of the team’s total 46 attacks, against Ateneo’s 24 spikes, while also nailing 10 aces against only one by the Lady Eagles, from Maddie Madayag.
Caitlyn Viray scored seven and Ysa Jimenez had six markers, while Alina Bicar dished out 19 excellent sets on top of six markers.
The Tigresses have won seven straight matches, including the last four elimination round games and two matches against defending champion La Salle that put the team in the finals.
Kat Tolentino was the lone Lady Eagle to score in double figures with 12 points. Maddie Madayag and Jules Samonte had six hits each, while Bea De Leon had four markers.