UST inches closer to Finals, gets twice-to-beat advantage

1 May 2019

By Ardyn Gonzales

The University of Sto. Tomas Lady Tigresses got the better of the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the playoff for the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, 25-14, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, Wednesday at the FilOil Flying-V Arena in San Juan.

After paralyzing La Salle in a lopsided opening set, UST doubled up on the Lady Spikers in the second set heading into the technical timeout, 16-8. La Salle slowly caught up in the latter part of the frame via a 5-0 run, 24-23, but Eya Laure’s crosscourt attack sealed the 2-0 lead for UST in the game.

The Lady Spikers responded with a 6-1 start in the third set, butit was easily neutralized by the Lady Tigresses to steal the lead at 8-7. But with Des Clemente and Jolinadela Cruz taking over, La Salle held on to the lead as they stayed alive in the match.

However, UST quickly adjusted in the fourth set. After a 12-all deadlock, the Lady Tigresses cruised to a 19-13 cushion and never looked back to notch the advantage over the defending champions capped off by a hit from Laure.

SisiRondina unleashed 29 points on 25 kills 2 blocks and 2 service aces to lead the Lady Tigresses in their best finish in the elimination round in recent memory.Eya Laure gave a much-needed support with 17 points on 15 attacks. UST showed why they are the best attacking team in the league as they bombarded the Lady Spikers with 52 attacks against the 33 of La Salle.

It was Jolinadela Cruz who was the lone bright spot for La Salle with 12 points as they suffered another loss that put them in a do-or-die situation in the Final Four.

The Final Four match-up between UST and La Salle will be on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @sardynas

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