UST was lucky to have emerged victorious in its 5-set tussle against Adamson in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament despite committing a total of 35 errors Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Out of these unforced errors in the 25-21, 17-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12 win, 15 came from the faulty serves of the Tigresses which almost cost them the crucial match as teams are still stuck in a bottleneck road headed to the Final Four.
While a thrilling game can be entertaining to the fans, it has already lost its appeal to UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes.
“Para sa mga fans, maganda. Sa amin kasi roller coaster ride eh,” he told the press.
“Minsan hindi ko na ma-enjoy ‘yung sakay kasi masakit na sa ulo. Maganda, biglang bababa,” admitted the coach. “Ang frustrating sa side na ‘yun, when losing, hindi sila nagpe-perform ng maayos. Dinadaan sa paisa-isa hanggang sa hindi na kami maka-recover.”
In his efforts to find the right combination that would avenge UST’s loss to Adamson in the 1st set, Reyes utilized his full arsenal to prevent the Lady Falcons from completing a repeat.
In the 5th set right after rookie Alina Bicar came in to replace veteran Alex Cabaños, the freshman committed a service error which could have been the downfall of UST had the girls off España lost composure in the dying minutes of the match.
“On the latter part sa 5th set, very crucial ‘yung binigay na service error nung isang player. Buti na lang nakabalik agad at nakapag-execute agad ng play,” recalled the mentor. “Lahat ng possible rotation, lahat ng hugot na ginagawa namin, okay sana kung nagco-contribute agad.”
The sophomore duo of EJ Laure and Cherry Ronina wreaked havoc anew for UST, scoring 21 points apiece while middle blocker Jessey de Leon, despite surprisingly being subbed out in the 4th frame, chipped in 11 points of her own.
Reyes’s decision to keep Laure inside the court even after multiple errors in attacks and serves eventually paid off for UST as the skipper proved her worth and scored important points in the 5th set.
“Ilalabas ko na (dapat) sila Laure kasi sila ang malalakas magtapon ng bola eh,” revealed the coach. “Sabi ko kung magpapalitan kami ng mga main man, masisira ang rotation namin at hihina ang atake namin. Hindi na mate-threaten mga kalaban kung mga bata ang paglalaruin ko dun.”
“Hindi ko masabi kung nagma-mature ba kami or nagpapabaya ba kami.”
Nonetheless, a win is a win for the España crew as it allowed the team to remain in step with FEU and NU at the 4th spot with a 5-5 record.
“Ang importante naman dun is even na kami ng standings at 5-5. Tatalunin lang kami sa points na lang,” shared Reyes. “Ang importante dun dikit-dikit kami ni FEU at NU sa ngayon. Ito na ‘yung turning point namin. Sana magtuloy-tuloy.”
Next on UST’s plate is Ateneo, a team who defeated them in 4 sets during the 1st round of eliminations.
For Adamson, another sophomore in Mhay Roque did the damage with 21 points while getting ample support from star spiker Jema Galanza, who finished with 17 markers. — By Mac Dionisio