UST slays La Salle, dedicates win to ‘amiga’ Milena Alessandrini

With their hair fixed in a bun to honor their injured teammate, the Espana squad successfully bounced back with one of the most significant victories this season.

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses have slain one of their toughest foes in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament after their three-set stunner against De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After losing their previous game against Far Eastern University, the Tigresses started hot and led early in the first set, pouncing on their momentum and refusing to give any chances to the defending champions who came from a five-set loss against the University of the Philippines.

The senior-rookie duo of Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure spearheaded the winning effort for UST with 19 and 15 points respectively, successfully keeping the Lady Spikers at bay as no one finished in double digits.

The Espana squad dedicated their win to Milena Alessandrini who sustained a partial ACL injury in their match against FEU, sporting their teammate’s trademark bun hairstyle earlier.

Head coach Kungfu Reyes commended his squad for the fight they displayed against DLSU, praising his players for stepping up to the challenge brought by the absence of one of their best scorers.

“‘Yung mental baggage namin, ‘yung doubt na iniisip nila after ng FEU Game, may distraction talaga,” Reyes said. “Nawala si Milena but we have 13 strong women kahit sino man ang maging kalaban namin.”

Reyes said he was fully impressed with how the Tigresses played, compensating for Alessandrini’s scoring outputs by minimizing their errors.

“Dapat maging sensitive kami doon sa simplest balls na nagiging error pa namin, kasi nga kung hindi nga namin mapupunan’ yung 15 to 17 points ni Milena, ibabawas namin sa error,” Reyes said.

“This time, di ko alam kung umabot pa kami ng 20 errors kasi the past few games na natatalo kami, meron kaming 35, 36 errors. Meron pa rin pero ang importante, nabawasan,” the head coach added.

Indeed, the Espana squad played a cleaner game this time around, minimizing their errors to only 18 points.

As a way of redeeming her past performances, Rondina said she kept relaxed all throughout the game while reminding her teammates to maintain a winning mindset against the defending champions.

“Nagbilin lang naman ako, na galing din kay Coach, na kung pupunta ka ng digmaan, dapat mindset lagi na manalo kayo,” the senior said.

“Nire-relax ko lang kanina kasi siyempre ‘yung past games namin, kapag nasa likod ako, medyo naninigas ako. So ang ginawa ko nirelax ko muna yung sarili ko bago i-comfort sila,” Rondina added.

The Golden Tigresses look to improve their standings as they go up against the National University Lady Bulldogs on Saturday.

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