Tigresses gore Lady Tamaraws for momentum to go full steam ahead against Lady Bulldogs in match that will be for No. 2 – rezal404

Cassie Carballo (No. 24) and Janna Torres smother an attack by Far Eastern's Mary Petallo.  —PHOTOS BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Cassie Carballo (No. 24) and Janna Torres smother an attack by Far Eastern’s Mary Petallo. —PHOTOS BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Eya Laure beamed with pride following her signature high-motor assault at match point that sealed a Final Four trip for hard-fighting University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Season 85 of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

And the Growling Tigresses know that there is a lot more in store for them come Wednesday when they slug it out with a formidable foe in National University (NU) where the second twice-to-beat privilege in the semifinals will be up for grabs.

“They are the defending champions and they possess that mentality,” said Laure of the Lady Bulldogs just after leading the Tigresses to a 26-24, 22-25, 25-16, 25-23 dismantling of Far Eastern University (FEU) on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena that also knocked the Lady Tamaraws out of contention.

Laure talked that way because she and the Tigresses know that it won’t be easy pickings come Wednesday against the Lady Bulldogs. But with a no. 2 finish on the line, it will be a fight to the finish.

Santo Tomas’ ninth victory in 12 games tied the Tigresses with the Lady Bulldogs, making the Wednesday tiff a make-or-break, basically, as the loser would most likely clash with—and would need to beat the winner twice to advance to the finals.

Sealing top ranking

La Salle was able to lock on No. 1 after a 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 victory over bitter rival Ateneo later with Adamson running fourth with a 9-4 record.

“We will do our best to prepare for them (Lady Bulldogs). If we do good in our remaining games, we can bring the momentum to the next round,” said Laure.

The outside hitter with multidimensional skills delivered the final kill off a block by Julianne Monares that capped a 28-point performance built around 23 attacks in a victory that assured the Tigresses of a third consecutive semifinal appearance.

The Tigresses are scheduled to clash with University of the Philippines (1-11) to close out their elimination round assignment next week, while the Lady Bulldogs will be battling the Ateneo Blue Eagles (4-8).

Rookie Shevana Laput scored a career-high 16 points, highlighted by 15 attacks, to lead the Lady Spikers, who also drew 12 points from sensational rookie Angel Canino as La Salle climbed to an insurmountable 11-1 record while dealing the Blue Eagles an eighth lost in 12 games.

Faith Nisperos scored 12 points for the Blue Eagles and Vanessa Gandler had 13 attacks and Lyann Nisperos added 10 points before spraining her ankle.

The Blue Eagles drought against La Salle, which started in Season 79, was thus extended with the latest loss.

‘Aiming higher’

“We’re now in the top four. But we will be aiming higher in the rankings. It won’t be easy,” said Santo Tomas coach Kungfu Reyes in Filipino. “The key is to play solid volleyball and not be overwhelmed by the situation.”

Santo Tomas owns a victory over the Lady Bulldogs in the first round, NU’s first loss in two seasons.

Imee Hernandez backstopped Laure with 19 points, highlighted by 16 attacks, and Cassie Carballo ran their offensive efficiently with 17 excellent sets. Bernadette Pepito also sparkled with 21 digs and 19 receptions.


“The top two spots are important. We have a few days to prepare as we focus on that game beginning with practice [on Monday],” said Pepito.

Laure likewise had eight digs and three aces, the last two helping the Tigresses rise from a threatening deficit in the final set.

FIRE didn’t go down without a fight, making it difficult for the Tigresses in the fourth set after seizing a 17-14 advantage.

Jonna Perdido’s spike and two consecutive aces by Laure erased FEU’s lead, opening the door for the Tigresses to throw the Lady Tamaraws out of the semifinal picture.

“We have gained confidence that whoever steps on the court can deliver,” said Laure, whose game-clinching strike got partially blocked by Monares before trickling in on the Lady Tamaraws’ floor.

It triggered a celebration at the UST gallery as the Tigresses crushed the Final Four hopes of the Lady Tamaraws. INQ

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