Carballo Setter Cassie Carballo hopes to steer UST back to the win column. UAAP photo

Recharged Tigresses confident

April 2, 2024 Theodore P. Jurado 142 views

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas hopes that the Lenten break will have the squad recharged and refocused as the league leaders play struggling Adamson today in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Shooting for a fourth consecutive Final Four appearance, expect the Tigresses to use their first defeat as a fuel to regain their winning form in the 4 p.m. showdown with the Lady Falcons.

After surviving Ateneo in five sets to open the second round, UST fell ambush to National University, 25-23, 17-25, 21-25, 20-25 last March 23 that ended its undefeated run.

“Marami kaming natutunan this time,” said Tigresses coach Kungfu Reyes. “Ang maganda naman, as early as this, as early as second game ng second round na naramdaman na namin or nakita na namin talaga na yung somehow yung breaking point na tinatawag namin.”

Not only UST is trying to secure a place in the Final Four, but to also to bolster its twice-to-beat bid, as defending champion La Salle (7-1) and NU (7-2) are not far behind.

As the rest to the field were already able to figure out the Tigresses’ tendencies which led to their eight straight wins, Reyes wanted his troops to show grit at this crucial point of the season.

“That’s why yun yung mga department na talagang i-enhance pa namin na dapat matutunan. So again, sa mental toughness, yung how to recover especially yung mga body language, yun yung mga tinitignan namin ngayon,” said Reyes.

“So I’ll just remind– ni-remind ko rin sila sa dugout… we lose a point, we lose a set but do not lose our character and this time we lost a game definitely dapat hindi mawala yung character na meron kami,” he added.

With a 2-6 record, the Lady Falcons need to play with a sense of urgency from now on to remain in the hunt for a second consecutive trip to the Final Four.

The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, hope that their biggest win of the season will keep them motivated.

As NU braces for its 2 p.m. duel with upstart University of the East, Bella Belen underscored her squad’s drive to win which turned out to be a game changer after a sluggish start.

“Drive to win the game kasi every game, need dapat may improvement. So, yun yung nakikita sa teammates ko and sa team namin na kada game, talagang nag-i-improve kami,” said Belen, who is the league’s third best scorer behind super rookies Angge Poyos of UST and Casiey Dongallo of UE.

The Lady Warriors, meanwhile, are currently level with the Lady Falcons in sixth place at 2-6, just behind the Blue Eagles, who displayed tremendous improvement in the second round to move up to fifth with a 3-6 record.

Far Eastern University currently holds a 4-4 slate, one-and-a-half game ahead of Ateneo. The two teams will lock horns tomorrow at the bayside Pasay arena in a potential turning point of their respective seasons.

For Dongallo, her focus for the rest of the season is to win more games for UE, which is eyeing to reach three victories for the first time since 2019.

“Sabi ni doc (interim coach Obet Vital) na sabi ni Director Rod Roque na one more (win). We’re hoping to win more than one more game para maging masaya naman,” Dongallo said.

In the men’s division, NU presses its Final Four bid against UE at 10 a.m., while UST takes on Adamson at 12 noon.

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