Tigresses, Lady Eagles gain V-League q’finalsBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
IT TOOK only a couple of games for University of Santo Tomas to realize that it has found the perfect reinforcement in the Shakey’s V-League First Conference in Thai import Utaiwan Kaensing.
Utaiwan fired 17 points, including five off blocks as the Tigresses slipped past the Adamson Lady Falcons, 20-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-22, last night to become the first team to advance to the quarterfinals at Filoil-Flying V Arena.
“Utaiwan, right now, is very valuable to the team,” UST head coach Odjie Mamon. “We needed a middle blocker and she has easily adapted to our game. To put it simply, she is the complete package.”
Ateneo also clinched a quarterfinal berth after hammering out a 25-15, 26-24, 20-25, 25-14 win over National University in the first game.
Fille Cainglet and Alyssa Valdez posted 15 points each as the Lady Eagles secured their second straight victory in the tournament presented by Smart.
Cainglet was at her best in the fourth set, unleashing back-to-back kills that set off a string of attack points and gave the Eagles a comfortable 18-10 advantage.
“The players did not take NU lightly, but they just lost their aggressiveness in the third set,” said Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb.
Utaiwan’s superb effort rubbed off on her teammates with fellow guest player Mary Jean Balse and Maika Ortiz and Judy Caballejo also chipping in 16 points apiece.
“We had a bad start and it’s a good thing that the players adjusted,” Mamon said.
Balse and Utaiwan, the duo that also led the Tigresses to a straight-set victory over Letran, anchored the UST fightback, before Caballejo finished off the Lady Falcons, scoring three straight kills.
Janet Serafica, a last-minute inclusion to the Adamson squad with coach Dulce Pante seeing the need for an experienced setter over another attacker, orchestrated the offense for the Lady Falcons, before the Tigresses found their rhythm to overcome the challenge.
Pau Soriano had 15 points while guest player Nene Bautista added 12, all of them from spikes, for the Lady Falcons, who absorbed their second straight loss.
Dindin Santiago scored heavily from the backline in the third set to finish with 22 points for the Lady Bulldogs. With reports from Randolph Leongson, Rodolfo Lozada and Jan Edward Ballesteros, Contributors