UNIVERSITY of Sto. Tomas hopes to make a big jump after missing the playoffs the past four seasons, and skipper Cherry Rondina revealed the Tigresses’ sights are set on a finals appearance.
The 14-time UAAP champion has not been in the semifinals for the past four seasons and has not won a title in the past seven years.
But Rondina is confident UST has what it takes to get to the top of the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament.
“For me naman po, we really want na makabalik sa finals,” she said. “Siyempre, kung gusto niyo malaman ang goal namin talaga, 'yun po talaga.”
“Syempre, maganda na rin po ang makapasok sa Final Four, pero mas maganda po pag finals,” she added.
“Ta-trabahuhin namin. Hindi po kami mag-iiwan ng salita, basta trabaho, trabaho lang talaga.”
For several Tigresses, work started early in the offseason in commercial leagues.
UST was the lone tam without an import that made it to the semifinals of the V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference in November last year.
Rondina and EJ Laure played for Foton, while Chloe Cortez, Ria Meneses and Alex Cabanos saw action for Generika in the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference and Grand Prix.
Foton finished runner-up to the La Salle-backed F2 Logistics in the All-Filipino Conference before the Tornadoes won the Grand Prix.
The two spikers also played for the Foton Pilipinas team that participated in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in September.
UST coach Kungfu Reyes said it was important for the players to grow as individuals and bring to the team lessons they learned from the clubs.
“Syempre malaking bagay ‘yun kasi ang bini-build up mo doon ang confidence level nila,” he said.
UST will also have former team captain Pam Lastimosa back after a year out due to a knee injury.
The Tigresses open the new campaign against Ateneo on February 4 at the Araneta Coliseum, when the Lady Eagles officially begin life without two-time MVP Alyssa Valdez.