By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses ended their first-round assignment in Season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines on a high note, chalking up their third straight victory by defeating the University of the East Lady Warriors in three sets, 25-18, 25-14 and 25-20, on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Anchored on their sharp and balanced attack, the Tigresses were just a handful for the Lady Warriors from end-to-end as they made their way to the win that took them to a 5-2 record at the end of the opening round of the tournament, good for joint second place, while sending UE (1-6) to the its fourth defeat in a row.
The Tigresses showed tremendous firepower to start the match, led by Eya Laure and KC Galdones.
They raced to an 8-2 lead early and never looked back after, taking the first set, 25-18.
In the second frame, UST continued to dictate the pace, building a 6-1 advantage at the onset.
Towed by Judith Abil though, UE showed some signs of fight.
But the Lady Warriors still would find themselves behind 8-4 by the first technical timeout and 16-9 at the halfway point.
The Tigresses, smelling blood, kept hounding the Lady Warriors, racing to a 20-11 lead from which their opponents could not recover from, handing UST a commanding two sets to none advantage for the match.
The two teams came out firing to start the third set, fighting to a 5-5 count.
UST though would score the next three points to go on top, 8-5, by the first technical break.
The Tigresses tried to create further separation after on the lead of Laure and veteran Sisi Rondina.
They held a 16-10 cushion at the halfway juncture before taking it to a 20-14 gap moments later.
UE, however, made a late push to come within four points several times, the last one at 24-20, but that was the closest it could with UST cranking it up anew to bring home the set win and call it a match.
Rondina led the Tigresses in the win with 17 point followed by Laure with 15 points.
Caitlin Viray, Dimdim Pacres and Galdones each had eight points for UST.
For UE it was Abil who top-scored with 15 points.
“We just played with a lot heart and just enjoyed the game. That’s what we have been doing of late and it has helped a lot. Communication was also key and executing what we do in practice,” said Laure in Filipino after the match.