FOR the third straight year, University of Santo Tomas will miss the Final Four of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
And coach Odjie Mamon believes the pressure was simply too much for the Tigresses to overcome.
The Espana-based school bowed out of contention following its five-set loss to Far Eastern University's Lady Tamaraws in their playoff for the fourth and final berth in the stepladder playoffs.
It was the closest the Tigresses have come to making the Final Four in the last three years.
But it wasn’t meant to be as the once volleyball powerhouse obviously succumbed to the pressure unlike the Lady Tamaraws, according to Mamon.
“I think FEU played well,” said Mamon, who suffered a second loss of the day when the men’s team was forced to a do-or-die match for a finals berth by reigning champion National University.
“No pressure. Wala silang bagahe na parang balewala sa kanila ‘yung laro.”
Mamon also felt the Lady Tams, who last entered the Final Four in 2012, were more prepared for the game unlike the Tigresses, who had to divide their time thinking about the do-or-die match and reviewing for their upcoming final exams.
“Nandoon naman ang preparation pero ‘yung mga players, student-athletes din. Mas pinaghandaan nila ‘yung darating na exams,” noted Mamon.
But the Tigresses gave a good account of themselves after they bounced back from losing the first two sets to forge a fifth and deciding frame, 25-16 behind the efforts of Pam Lastimosa and rookie Cherry Rondina.
Lastimosa topscored for UST with 19 points, 16 on attacks, while Rondina provided spark in a must-win third set to finish with 11 points.
But the Tigresses sputtered in the final frame, 15-6, as Bernadette Pons led the finishing kick for the Lady Tams.
Although the season ended in a disappointment for UST, the future looks bright for the Tigresses who will have an intact lineup for next season with libero Dancel Dusaran the only graduating player.
Asked if the Final Four drought will finally come to an end for UST next year, Mamon refused to make a comment.
“Saka na ‘yun (assessment),” he said.