Viray lifts UST to finals

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UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas’ Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray hacked out a 22-20, 17-21, 15-13 win over Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza in a back-and-forth clash to claim the outright championship berth in the women’s division yesterday in the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament at the Sands SM By The Bay.

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With Rondina playing second fiddle in the endgame, Viray scored her team’s last three points to send the Tigresses back to the best-of-three title round via a 7-0 elimination round.

The Lady Tamaraws rallied from a 2-6 hole in the deciding set to grab the lead briefly at 8-7 and last took the upper hand at 10-9 on a Viray error.

FEU was trailing 10-12 before taking advantage of UST’s errors to force the game’s last deadlock at 12-12.

The Lady Tamaraws wound up second in the elims with a 6-1 card and will hold the twice-to-beat advantage in the second stepladder semifinals.

De La Salle’s Tin Tiamzon and May Luna, meanwhile, made quick work of Ateneo’s Bea de Leon and Jules Samonte, 21-10, 21-9, to clinch the remaining semis berth and will face Diana Carlos and Ayel Estrañero of University of the Philippines in the first step-ladder.

The UST-FEU clash featuring two of the best players in the sand court in Rondina and Pons truly lived up to the hype.

It was a back-and-forth first frame as the Lady Tamaraws came back from a 7-14 hole to move closer to set point, 20-19, before the Tigresses scored the next three points capped by a Pons net touch to claim the set.

UST rallied a 5-10 second set deficit and closed in at 15-16 on Viray’s back-to-back kills before FEU displayed tremendous composure to tie the game at one set apiece.

The Lady Spikers finished the elims at 4-3, while the Lady Eagles bowed out with their fifth loss against two wins.

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