UST faced a tough start to the Season 86 finals as star rookie Angge Poyos got injured and the Golden Tigresses lost in straight sets against the NU Lady Bulldogs, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20, in Game 1 of the women’s volleyball finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, May 11.

Poyos sustained an injury by twisting her right ankle as she landed on teammate Em Banagua’s left foot. She left the game and did not return.

“Walang ibang alibi, talagang steep lang nilaro ng mga bata habang smooth naman ‘yong kabilang side,” UST head coach Emilio ‘Kung Fu’ Reyes said postgame. “We tried to penetrate ‘yong depensa nila pero talagang kahit anong atake namin ay talagang nakukuha nila.”

“Ang kailangan lang namin gawin is bounce back. Nandito na kami, talagang win or go home na kami sa Wednesday.”

NU is on the brink of reclaiming the UAAP crown, needing just one more win, while UST must secure a victory in the next game to force a Game 3.

The pivotal Game 2 is set for May 15, Wednesday, at 4 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In the first set, UST managed to recover from a 6-0 lead by NU, responding strongly with an 18-11 run capped by a Jonna Perdido service ace.

The set stayed closely contested, but the Lady Bulldogs secured the set victory with consecutive kills from Vange Alinsug, ending the set 25-23 in their favor.

In the second set, Poyos scored seven points before leaving the game due to injury. This forced UST to adjust its rotation, with Xyza Gula and Pierre Abellana stepping in for UST’s offense.

UST held a lead of 11-9 in the second set but failed to weather losing Poyos. NU capitalized on this, going on a 16-9 run that included four block points, allowing them to clinch the set 25-20 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.

NU dominated various scoring categories, recording 47 attacks compared to UST’s 41. The Lady Bulldogs also outperformed the Tigresses in blocking (7-1) and service (3-2).

In the absence of Poyos, UST made changes in the third set with reserves Renee Peñafiel, Mae Coronado and Kaka Caasi seeing playing time.

NU sealed the sweep with a 25-20 victory in the third set.

Jonna Perdido led UST with 17 points, supported by Regina Jurado with 10 points.

Camilla Lamina, the best setter in Season 84, facilitated NU’s offense effectively, allowing four Lady Bulldogs to score in double digits: Solomon (17 points), Bella Belen (13 points), Alinsug (12 points), and Sheena Toring (10 points).