Best performance to date.
This was how UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes described their last outing in the 1st round of the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament where they shocked and swept La Salle Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Center.
Coming into the match clearly as the underdogs, the Golden Tigresses wasted no time and fired off from the get-go, shocking the Lady Spikers, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21.
“Maganda lang ‘yung gising,” Reyes humbly told the press. “Hindi ko sila pinag-ensayo kahapon kasi too much na rin ang karga. Too much information na rin na naglalabo-labo na rin mga isip ng mga bata.”
Prior to the match, all the odds were looking to be in favor of La Salle after it crushed bitter rival Ateneo over the weekend.
Revitalized despite coming from a disappointing loss against UP, the Golden Tigresses turned the tables on the Taft squad to give the opponents a dose of their own medicines.
“Si La Salle siguro may hangover pa siguro. Medyo mabigat pa ‘yung pakiramdam nila,” shared the coach.
“Ang basa kasi namin ng coaches, kukunin namin si UP at si La Salle. Eh bumaliktad dahil mas gusto talaga manalo ni UP,” he added. “Sabi nga everybody’s ball game. Kung sino mag perform ng 100% ‘yun ang mananalo. This time siguro kami lang ang bwenas.”
The Lady Spikers tried time and again to wake up from the lull, banking on the hot hands of veteran Ara Galang, who top scored both teams with 15 markers.
UST’s grit, however, blanked any possibility of a comeback as the sophomore duo of EJ Laure and Cherry Rondina once again wreaked havoc with a combined 24-point output.
Talking about his in-game huddles, Reyes shares, “Any time kasi pwede bumalik si La Salle kung hindi mo sasamantalahin. Every timeout kami, tignan niyo ‘yung La Salle ayaw nang gumalaw, wag na buhayin ‘yan otherwise may kalalagyan na naman kami.”
“Nagbunga din at tumama din kami. At siyempre may tinago din kami na baraha,” he continued. “Sabi ko nga last hurrah namin, ibibigay ko last game namin para makita namin kung ano ba ‘yung gamot dun sa mga sakit namin bago kami pumunta sa 2nd round. Nagkaron ng linaw and sana dire-diretso.”
More than his wards’ newfound offensive prowess, Reyes lauded the efforts of spiker-turned-libero Rica Rivera and spiker-turned setter Alyssa Teope whose connection allowed UST to dominate in attacking, 33-26.
“Ang nagdala ‘yung 1st ball namin eh,” he declared. “Wala kang problema kay Teope basta taasan mo ng bola kahit nasa kabilang side ‘yan aabutin niya ‘yan kasi malaki. The advantage is ‘yung block at ‘yung depensa.”
Rivera, who is just on her 2nd game in the new position, shone anew with 13 excellent digs and 16 excellent receptions while Teope dished 15 excellent sets.
Due to the good ball passing, UST’s middle blockers, Jessey de Leon and Tin Francisco, scored 13 points of their own, surprising the slacking La Salle crew.
“Magulo ‘yung standings. Hindi na kami nakikialam basta ang importante kung ano ang laro namin kinabukasan,” admitted the coach after UST’s 3-4 record got them in a three-way tie for the 5th spot.
“We are on the right path. Although nadadapa kami, kailangan lang namin bumangon sa pagkakadapa,” he closed. — By Mac Dionisio