UAAP Season 81 Final Four: UST dethrones DLSU, ends 8-year Finals wait
Mark Escarlote on May 05, 2019 06:42 PM
University of Sto. Tomas booked the first UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament Finals seat after knocking three-time champion De La Salle University off the throne.
University of Sto. Tomas ended an eight-year wait for a Finals appearance by dethroning three-time champion De La Salle University, 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10, Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Final Four at the MOA Arena.
Rookie Eya Laure towed the Tigresses to their first championship stint after a runner-up finish in Season 73 while ending the Lady Spikers 10-year Finals run.
Laure played the hero’s role, hammering the match-clinching kill in the exciting windup. The freshman registered a career-high 25 points highlighted by 21 spikes while graduating hitter Sisi Rondina added 17 markers and 10 excellent receptions for UST.
Rookie Kecelyn Galdones added 11 markers while Caitlyn Viray added 10 points for the Espana-based squad. Alina Bicar tallied 23 excellent sets and 15 digs while Rica Rivera had 21 digs and 21 excellent receptions for UST.
The Tigresses raced to a 10-5 lead before DLSU made a final push to cut its deficit to 11-10 off an Aduke Ogunsanya attack after an overreception by UST. Bicar scored a kill on the next play followed by a service ace before Laure's back-to-back heroics.
UST handed DLSU a painful exit as the elusive four-peat continued to elude the Taft-based squad after three tries. The Tigresses on Wednesday took the twice-to-beat advantage in a playoff against the Lady Spikers.
The Tigresses will face in the best-of-three Finals the winner between Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University on Wednesday.
Game 1 of the Finals is on Saturday.
DLSU forced a deciding set after pulling away from a close 18-17 lead to a 23-19 advantage capped by a Des Cheng crosscourt hit. Viray scored back-to-back points for UST to trim down its deficit to 23-21 but committed a service error in the next play. Eya Laure saved two set points but the Tigresses were whistled for a net touch to end the fourth set.
The Lady Spikers took advantage of UST’s 13 errors in the third set to escape a sweep.
DLSU came back from a 11-15 down in the third frame with six unanswered points for a 17-15 advantage. The Lady Spikers widened their cushion to 24-19, Laure saved a set point before graduating hitter Des Cheng sealed the frame.
The Tigresses came back from a bad start in the opening set that saw them trail early, 1-5. UST rallied to take a 16-12 advantage that ballooned to 24-17 off a Viray ace.
DLSU saved two set points before Galdones sealed the set with a hit.
UST again struggled early in the second frame, 4-7, before unleashing another scoring blitz to take an 18-13 advantage.
The Lady Spikers were able to trim their deficit to 21-19 after a May Luna kill block but Lourdes Clemente overcooked her serve before DLSU committed another miscue.
Rookies Ysa Jimenez, who finished with six points, and Laure scored back-to-back hits to give UST a 2-0 match lead.
Freshman Jolina dela Cruz posted 12 points - all from attacks - and 16 excellent receptions while outgoing skipper Des Cheng and Ogunsanya finished with 10 markers each for the Lady Spikers.
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