Ruthless V-League comeback for TigressesBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas proved ruthless in its first Shakey’s V-League match in two years.
With their two guest players proving their worth, the Tigresses smashed Letran’s Lady Knights, 25-10, 25-22, 25-13, yesterday, sending a strong message to the rest of the 10-team field before a lively crowd at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Thai reinforcement Kaensing Utaiwan and former league MVP Mary Jean Balse joined forces in piercing the porous Letran defense as the Tigresses launched their bid for a seventh crown in style.
Kaensing flashed a well-rounded game with 17 points, including four service aces and two blocks. Balse chipped in nine hits for the Tigresses.
Earlier, reigning NCAA champion Perpetual Help opened its campaign by outlasting National U, 25-15, 23-25, 25-17, 25-27, 15-12.
The Altas’ 19-year-old Thai import Kunbang Pormnipol foiled Rizza Mandapat at the net, after Cai Nepomuceno committed an attacking error, allowing the Lady Altas to escape with the victory.
NCAA MVP Sandra delos Santos finished with 26 points, including three blocks, while Kunbang added 18 hits, including two blocks for the Lady Altas.
Coach Mike Rafael said he expects big things from their guest reinforcement, a member of the Thai junior team.
“She’s still trying to jell with the team,”said Rafael, whose team prevailed despite committing 42 errors.
The Tigresses played like they never took a break from the league at all, brandishing a fluid attacking game and crisp combination plays.
Maika Ortiz chipped in 13 hits, while Maru Banaticla added six markers for the Tigresses, who still hold the league record for most titles with six .