FOR THE first time since 2012, the UST Golden Tigresses will advance to the Final Four following a 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-12 win over the National University Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum Saturday.
The Tigresses played their first five-setter this season and up 13-12 in the final set.
They banked on back-to-back, down-the-line hits from Cherry Ann Rondina and Dimdim Pacres to secure their ninth win of the season and third place overall.
EJ Laure injured her right foot in the fifth set after attempting a spike over NU’s Jaja Santiago but brushed it off and finished the game.
UST will join the De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University and FEU in the semifinals.
“Hindi na kami magse-settle sa Final Four. Mangangarap kami nang sobra-sobra. I-o-overachieve na namin ang narating namin ngayon,” UST coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes told the Varsitarian.
The Tigresses, who gave up the first two sets as NU gained control behind Santiago, Risa Sato and Jorelle Singh, came alive in the third set following a 10-2 run which put them at a 20-15 advantage.
With NU up 4-1 in the fourth set, UST ignited a 15-3 run to build a 12-point lead and eventually force a deciding set.
Rondina and Laure dropped 22 points apiece for the Tigresses while Tin Francisco provided spark off-the-bench with 11 points.
In her final game of the season, Santiago capped her MVP-worthy campaign with 30 points while Singh added 13.
UST will face defending champions La Salle,who hold a twice-to-beat advantage, on April 22, Saturday, 4 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Manalo matalo basta nagtrabaho kami. Luckily kami nanalo. Pwede na ‘to, masasabi ko na Final Four material ‘yung mga bata,” Reyes said.