UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas played its best game of the season on Sunday afternoon, whipping University of the Philippines in straight sets to put one foot in the Final Four door in the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament.
Ria Meneses, EJ Laure, and Sisi Rondina stood out in a game where the Tigresses couldn't seem to do anything wrong, dominating the Lady Maroons with a variety of attacks and a strong stand at the net on the way to a 25-20, 25-21, 25-16 victory.
Meneses, a fourth-year middle blocker, led the defense with eight of the team's 10 blocks to earn Player of the Game honors. She had 10 points in total as the Tigresses won for the seventh time in their last nine games while avenging a loss to UP in the first round.
At 8-5 (win-loss), the Tigresses moved up to solo third behind joint leaders Ateneo and La Salle (11-2) and earned at least a playoff for a Final Four spot.
UST last made it to the Final Four four years ago.
“Alam kasi namin kung saan kami nakatayo bago mag-start 'yung laro. So kami magdi-dictate, nasa kamay namin kung ano ang kapalaran namin,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes.
“Ngayon, andito na kami, papasok na kami, malaki na ‘yung chance namin para sa Final Four. Hindi na namin hahayaan na mawala pa sa kamay namin,” he added.
Laure and Rondina unloaded strong kills for a combined 29 points tied the season-high for blocks in a game set by Jaja Santiago of National University.
Chloe Cortez made five points, including four of UST’s nine service aces, while Mary Dominique Pacres added three for the Tigresses.
Diana Carlos finished with eight points while Isa Molde and Nicole Tiamzon each had seven markers, but they couldn't save UP from falling to its sixth loss in 13 games.
The Lady Maroons are now in a three-way tie for fourth spot with Far Eastern University and NU.
The Lady Maroons will face the Lady Tams on Wednesday while the Tigresses will clash with the Lady Bulldogs on April 8.