The Tigresses ignited a 14-5 run to erect a 20-10 lead. A down-the-line hit from Regina Jurado sealed UST’s spot in the finals.
With UST at set point, 24-16, Imee Hernandez went for a crosscourt kill to give UST a 2-1 set advantage.
The Tigresses were at set point in the second canto, 24-23, when La Salle swung a three-point blitz capped by Justine Jazareno’s crosscourt kill to salvage its lone set win.Trailing 11-16 in the opening set, UST uncorked a 14-5 run capped by a La Salle mishit to gain first blood.
Eya Laure pounded a season-high 21 points while Hernandez had 12 markers. Angel Canino had 11 points for La Salle.
The Junior Golden Tigresses and the Lady Bullpups faced each other in the UAAP finals five times since 2013. UST won their first encounter before NU grabbed the next three championships in Seasons 77, 78 and 79.
Reyes told the Varsitarian that the Lady Bullpups were able to get blue-chip recruits every year, making them harder to beat.
“Hirap nila gibain every year kasi may bago silang playerna alam mo ‘yung quality player sa labas. ‘Yung (Alyssa) Solomon, may bago na naman silang reinforcement.. Wala tayong katulad nila (NU) na in terms of recruitment,lamang na lamang sila,” Reyes said.
To dethrone the Lady Bullpups, Reyes said the team needs to minimize its errors.
In their second-round encounter last Nov. 12, UST lost to the Lady Bullpups and committed 29 errors..
“During natatalo tayo, kaliwa’t kanang error so ma-minimize ‘yung unforced errors namin. Dun lang naman si NU sa amin. Hindi sila nagbibigay ng maraming errors, tayo naman ‘yung maraming nagbibigay na errors,” Reyes said
The long preparation for the finals gave ample time for Laure and team captain Maji Mangulabnan to recover from their shoulder injury and ankle sprain, respectively.
The best-of-three finals will start on Nov. 27, Monday, 4 p.m., at the same venue.