UST ends Final Four drought with epic comeback win over NU

University of Santo Tomas came back from the dead to eliminate National University in five sets, 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-12, securing the last UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball Final Four slot and breaking a four-year post-season drought on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

by John Chester Fajardo

  • Drought is over: A Jaja Santiago block on EJ Laure pulled the Lady Bulldogs within a point at the tailend of the match, 13-12, before Sisi Rondina and Dimdim Pacres sealed the deal as the UST crowd erupted inside the Big Dome.
  • Growl of the Big 3: Rondina and EJ Laure both exploded for 22 points while middle blocker Riri Meneses added 10 points, as the Golden Tigresses enter the Final Four since their last appearance in Season 74.
  • Unsung hero: Tigress Tin Francisco though provided the spark of the bench as the rarely used middle blocker contributed 11 huge points.
  • No help: MVP candidate Jaja Santiago scored 30 points but it was not enough as the Lady Bulldogs missed the post-season for the second straight season.
  • Scary scene: There was quite a scare before the end of the match as Laure twisted her right ankle in a bad fall following a block from Santiago. She shrugged it off and even finished the game inside the court.
  • Playoff mode: UST showcased its much improved floor defense with huge disparities in excellent digs (64-48) and receives (45-31).
  • Quote of the match: “Grabe ang stress ko dun kanina. Ang hirap ng laro this is for semifinals, hindi basta bastang sumusuko ang both teams.” – UST head coach Kungfu Reyes

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