Rondina, Tigresses go for volley crown

Kristina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Rondina, Tigresses go for volley crown
UST star Sisi Rondina attacks the defense of Ateneo Lady Eagle Maddie Madayag in Game One where the Tigresses prevailed, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20.
Ernie Peñaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — It could well be the real defining moment for the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses as they look to sweep their way to the throne versus a beleaguered Ateneo side in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay today.

The Tigresses shackled the Lady Eagles’ touted blockers and completed a masterful 25-17, 25-16, 25-20 victory in Game One of their best-of-three championship series last Saturday.

They aim for the finisher in their 4 p.m. clash, with high-flying graduating spiker Sisi Rondina likely to lead their charge anew.

“Bumitaw na ako ng salita sa pinakauna palang. Gagawin ko ang lahat maibalik lang namin ‘yung korona sa España. Paninindigan na namin ‘to. Sabi ko sa mga bata, walang aayaw. Walang mawawala sa atin (I have made a vow right from the start that I will do everything to bring the crown back to España. We’ll make good on our promise. I’ve told my teammates no one will quit. We have nothing to lose),” said Rondina.

The Tigresses skipper battered the Lady Eagles with 20 attacks, the last pushing them to match point, and finished with a game-high 23 points in Game One.

UST’s young guns heeded the call of their captain on Saturday as newbies Ysa Jimenez and KC Galdones delivered to help the one-two punch of Rondina and rookie sensation Eya Laure.

Veterans Cait Viray and Alina Bicar also had solid contributions, with the latter distributing the ball well with her 19 excellent sets to orchestrate the Tigresses’ 46 attacks.

“We won’t stop working. We’ll try to improve our movements and lessen our errors in a bid to finish it Wednesday. If we can finish it Wednesday, we will,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes, whose charges on Saturday outgunned ADMU in attacks (46 to 24) and aces (10 to 1) but committed more errors – 23 to its opponent’s 17.

But the Lady Eagles are bent on forcing the series extension, with graduating middle blockers Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag, held to six and four points, respectively, in the opener, raring to regain their form.

And the Tigresses are bracing for the Lady Eagles’ mighty comeback.

“Noong nanalo kami, kaagad kaming nag-huddle at sabi ko, wala maging kampante. May isang laro pa. Hindi pa tapos ang laban. Sa Wednesday, pwedeng kahit ano mangyari, pwede siyang mawala. Nasa amin na ‘yun basta tamang mindset lang. Alam ko naman ang programa ni coach Kungfu, naniniwala ako sa kanya,” said Laure.

ADMU, the top blocking team, could do little in silencing UST’s attackers the last time.

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