University of Santo Tomas turned what was expected to a down-to-the-wire decider into a lopsided finish, overpowering National U in the fifth set to fashion out a 21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 13-25, 15-4 victory and capture the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League of Champions Season 14 crown at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig late Thursday.
The Junior Tigresses bounced back strong from a fourth-set meltdown with a dominating performance in the fifth with Ejiya Laure leading the attack while drawing solid backup from Janna Torres, Bernadett Pepito and Ma. Regina Mangulabnan to deliver another Shakey’s GVL crown to the España-based school.
Its was UST’s fourth championship since the league, sponsored by Shakey’s, started the Tournament of Champions, now the League of Champions which gathered the top teams from various regional eliminations.
UST actually ruled the first edition with Alyssa Valdez, now one of the faces of women’s volleyball, as spearhead before Hope Christian College took five out of 14 titles disputed in the league backed by MyPhone, Asics and Mikasa and organized by Metro Sports.
Laure went on to bag the MVP trophy and was named the first best outside attacker with Torres taking the second best middle blocker plum, Pepito copping the best libero honors and Mangulabnan nailing the best setter award.
NU’s Thea Gagate won the first best middle blocker plum and teammate Faith Nisperos was named the second best outside attacker and De La Salle-Lipa’s Alleiah Malaluan took the best opposite attacker trophy.
It was another sorry title setback for the Lady Bullpups, who also lost in the decider to the DLS-Lipa side last year. The dethroned champions took third place with a 25-18, 25-17 victory over the Central Philippine U spikers.
Nu showed its readiness for redemption when it took the opening set but UST fought back to sweep the next two frames only to sputter in the face of the Lady Bullpups’ strong fourth set comeback, setting the stage for what had been billed as thriller of a decider.
But Laure and company would not have none of it as they jumped the gun on their rivals’ early then sustained their firepower and superb floor coverage and net defense to turn it into a one-sided finish.