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.
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.