UST nears twin beach volleyball title sweep
Mark Escarlote on Oct 08, 2016 02:56 PM
Cherry Rondina of University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University's Bernadeth Pons battle in a joust. UST won the best-of-three Finals series opener.
University of Sto. Tomas continued its winning ways to move an inch closer to claiming the crown in the 79th UAAP women's beach volleyball tournament.
The duo of Cherry Rondina and Jem Gutierrez overpowered the Far Eastern University tandem of Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, 21-17, 21-9, Saturday morning in Game 1 of the best-of-three series at the Sands SM by the Bay.
UST extended its winning run to eight after a clean sweep of the elimination round to advance outright in the Finals. Rondina and Gutierrez can reclaim the throne UST lost last season with another win Sunday morning.
The Tigresses overhauled an early 1-5 deficit in the opening set with a huge 7-1 rally to take the lead, 8-6. FEU committed a couple of errors that UST took advantage off to control the frame.
With Rondina heating up on her attacks, the Tigresses rained down on the Lady Tams in the second set to seal the series opener. UST has yet to drop a set in this tournament.
"Wala pa sa isip namin yun (na ma-sweep) ang iniisip namin ay kung paano naman ang gagalawin namin bukas," said the incoming third year Rondina. "Kung may mga lapses man kami nagagamot naman namin yun."
The Cebuana hitter admitted that they were jittery during the opening stretch.
"Medyo kinabahan kami (sa first set). Ako honestly kinabahan talaga ako," she said.
If FEU, which dethroned De La Salle, 21-17, 25-15, in the knockout semifinals decider early Saturday morning, wins Game 2, the winner-take-all Game 3 is also on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Tigers bets KR Guzman and Anthony Arbasto are also a win away from the title after taking down the weary FEU duo Jeremiah Barrica and Jude Garcia in their series opener.
The well-rested UST tandem crushed FEU, 21-13, 21-11, for a 1-0 series lead.
Game 2 is on Sunday. If necessary, Game 3 is also on Sunday.
The Tams took the long, rough road to enter the Finals.
FEU knocked Adamson out in the playoff for the last semis spot in three sets before defeating National University in the opening phase of the stepladder semis Friday to take on twice-to-beat University of the Philippines.
The Tams took the opening game early Saturday morning 22-20, 21-18 before making a dramatic comeback to upset UP in the deciding match, 22-20, 18-21, 16-14.
Garcia suffered cramps on his left leg after the second set and Barrica went down also with cramps on the same leg with FEU trailing 5-8 in the third frame.
The Tams duo saw themselves on the edge of elimination with a 12-14 deficit. But FEU showed a valiant stand to score the next four points to clinch the last Finals ticket.
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