University of Santo Tomas (UST) kept its Final Four hopes alive, ripping National University (NU), 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-9, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Golden Tigresses banked on the fiery attack of league-leading scorer Cherry Rondina and rookie Milena Alessandrini as they remained on the hunt of a playoff spot with an improved 4-7 win-loss record.
Spitfire skipper Rondina exploded with 25 points built on 22 attacks to go with 16 excellent digs. Alessandrini provided ample support as she logged 19 markers anchored on 11 attacks, five blocks and three service aces.
The Kung Fu Reyes-mentored team posted back-to-back wins heading into the Holy Week break.
UST wasted a 22-19 lead in the opening set, committing a string of errors that allowed NU to unleash a 6-0 surge.
The Tigresses fought back in the second canto then took a 21-14 spread before repelling the Lady Bulldogs’ fightback in the third for a one-set cushion.
Behind the stellar efforts of Rondina and Alessandrini, the España-based belles continued to dominate in the fourth en route to the crucial win.
Jaja Santiago was the lone bright spot as she finished with a game-best 27 points for NU, which suffered its fourth straight defeat.
Babes Castillo’s Lady Bulldogs though stayed in the magic four with a 6-5 card.
In the men’s division, Adamson University and UST boosted their Final Four bids as they notched respective wins against separate foes.
Adamson hacked out a stunning sweep of erstwhile solo leading NU, 25-23, 25-19, 25-16, while UST pulled off a 25-22, 25-20, 14-25, 25-21 victory over De La Salle University.
Leo Miranda tallied 13 points highlighted by 12 attacks while George Labang and Royce Bello combined for 16 markers as the Falcons soared to 5-6 and snapped NU’s eight-game winning streak.
Joshua Umandal pumped in 18 points while Manuel Medina and Tyrone Carodan added 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Tigers, who improved to 5-6.
UST and Adamson are now tied at No. 4 as the tight race to the post-season continues.
NU fell to 9-2, allowing Ateneo De Manila University and Far Eastern University to join them at the top, even as La Salle slid to 4-7.