Tigresses begin battle for third series against BaliPure

Mark Escarlote on Nov 12, 2016 04:26 AM
Tigresses begin battle for third series against BaliPure
University of Sto. Tomas opens its battle for third best-of-three series against BaliPure.

University of Sto. Tomas is looking to end the 13th V-League Reinforced Conference on a high note.

The Tigresses may have fallen short in their Finals berth bid but the all-Filipino squad still has a chance to salvage a podium finish when UST takes on their elimination round victim BaliPure Saturday in Game 1 of the best-of-three battle for third series at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Game time is scheduled at 4:00 p.m. and will air via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/vleague. It will also air 8:00 p.m. on S+A channel 23.

The Tigresses were swept by Pocari Sweat in the race-to-two Final Four but gave the Open Conference champion quite a scare in Game 2 last Monday.

“Ang target na ngayon ay third place,” said head coach Kungfu Reyes, who is using this tournament as part of their preparation for the coming 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

UST is coming off a three-game losing streak – all at the hands of the more experienced Pocari Sweat crew.

After dropping their end of elims match in four sets, the Tigresses bowed to the Lady Warriors in the semis series opener, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22, last week.

But UST proved to be a tough nut to crack in Game 2 as top hitters EJ Laure and Cherry Rondina led the Tigresses to force a fifth set before eventually falling short in the end, 17-25, 26-24, 24-26, 27-25, 8-15, last Monday.

Despite the loss, Reyes hopes that they can use the lessons they learned in the semifinals to hurdle the Purest Water Defenders and duplicate UST’s 21-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-13, shocker in BaliPure’s conference debut last October 8.                     

“Basta tatapusin namin ang liga ng maayos,” Reyes vowed. “Siyempre kung hindi namin nakuha ang Finals slot at least sa third man lang.”

The Water Defenders are reeling from a painful 2-1 Final Four loss to Bureau of Customs after squandering a 1-0 series lead. 

Aside from Laure and Rondina who averaged 16 and 14.5 points, respectively, in the semifinals, Reyes will also bank on Ria Meneses, Chloe Cortez and Pam Lastimosa.

Rondina will play BaliPure for the first time after skipping UST’s win against the Water Defenders to compete in the 79th UAAP beach volleyball tournament.

The Tigresses will miss the services of injured sophomore Carla Sandoval (fractured finger), who in their elims match had a superb game, in UST's rematch with BaliPure, which will parade American imports Kate Morrell and setter Kayle Manns together with mainstays Amy Ahomiro, Dzi Gervacio, Charo Soriano, Sue Roces and libero Denden Lazaro.

Game 2 of the battle for third is on Monday. If needed, Game 3 is on Monday but if the Finals series between Pocari Sweat and Bureau of Customs ends in two games and the battle for third series is tied, the team with the superior quotient will pocket the bronze.





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