UST achieves first best round finish in years, looks to continue their winning ways

For the past UAAP seasons, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses struggled to keep a strong footing due to their poor first round showing.

With open spiker Milena Alessandrini missing action after sustaining a partial ACL injury, the Tigresses faced possible adversity as they lost one of their top scorers.

After seven games in Season 81, the Espana squad successfully achieved its most dominant first-round finish yet.

The Tigresses clinched its fifth win in the tournament after disposing of the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors in straight sets, 25-18, 25-14, 25-20, earlier at the Filoil Flying V Center.

UST controlled the game from the get-go with open spikers Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure collaborating in scoring duties while receiving ample help from their teammates.

Rondina and Laure led the scoreboard anew for the Tigresses with 17 and 15 points, respectively.

RELATED – UAAP: Rondina, Laure power UST’s vengeance versus UE

With their 5-2 win-loss record, the Tigresses share the second and third spots in the standings with De La Salle University after the first round, their best since their 6-1 finish back in Season 73.

Head coach Kungfu Reyes felt proud of his team’s performance given their poor start in the previous seasons and despite losing one of their key players.

“Dati nagsisimula kaming 0-3, ngayon napakaganda ng naging development ng team namin. Ang naging pangit lang talaga, nabawasan kami ng isang tao, si Milena, pero in regard sa standing ngayon, malayong-malayo sa noong nag-start ako sa UST,” Reyes said.

Laure credited her teammates for stepping up their game and being ready to fill the gaps in their system.

“Nag-step up lang po talaga kaming lahat and willing talaga gawin lahat–nakikita sa training pa lang na nagdo-double effort talaga kami and fini-fix yung mga pagkukulang talaga,” Laure said.

The rookie also vowed to help Rondina in whatever way she can to give the graduating player a fitting ending to her UAAP career.

“Bago mag-start yung season, ‘yun din ‘yung napag-usapan namin–sabi ko, Ate Sisi, tutulungan talaga kita kahit anong way na pwede basta mabigyan lang siya ng magandang exit kasi deserve niya iyon,” Laure said.

With the team coming together at the right time, Reyes hopes UST will establish their winning culture as they reclaim their lost glory in the league.

“Sana ito na ‘yung hinihintay namin. At least nandito kami ngayon sa top 3 ng first round, so maganda-gandang motivation pagpasok ng second round,” the head coach said.

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