UST sweeps UAAP beach volleyball
University of Santo Tomas completed a golden double in the UAAP Season 79 beach volleyball tournament by winning the women’s and men’s division titles Sunday at the Sands SM By The Bay.
The Tigresses became the most successful squad in the sport, as Cherry Rondina and Jem Gutierrez powered the España-based squad to a fourth title with a 21-17, 21-10 win over Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza in the championship decider.
UST just missed a perfect season as it dropped Game 2, 21-17, 17-21, 13-15, earlier in day, but Rondina and Gutierrez won’t be denied in reclaiming the throne.
“Yung last season kasi wala na iyon. It’s another chapter naman,” said Rondina, a product of Compostela National High School in Cebu who won her second MVP award in three years.
“Noong nagbago ang coaching staff at ang partner ko, sinabi ng coach namin na ito ang panibagong libro, ang front page. Yung mga pages po, ito ang training namin. Ito (championship) ang last page namin.”
The Growling Tigers were successful in hacking out a 9-0 season sweep, as MVP KR Guzman and Anthony Arbasto downed the hard-fighting Tamaraws pair of Jude Garcia and Jeremiah Barrica, 21-16, 21-16, in Game 2.
UST has now won three men’s championships, tying FEU and National University for the most number of crowns.
As a consolation for the Tamaraws, Barrica, who replaced Richard Solis at the start of the step-ladder semifinals, was named the Rookie of the Year.
“Grabe ang puso nila na maglaro. Nag-cramps sila (noong Game 1), ang sakit na noon, pero nag-push pa rin sila. Malaki ang respeto namin sa FEU, mga bata pa, may panahon rin sila,” said Guzman.
The triumph ended the Tigers’ heartbreak of being bridesmaids for the last three seasons.
“Yun ang nag-drive sa akin to push further na makukuha ko ang gusto ko,” said Guzman.
UST banked on a strong start in the second frame of Game 3, as Rondina scored the first five points of the set and nailed the championship-clinching set to seal the deal.
Rondina praised her new partner Gutierrez for a job well done all-season long.
“Si ate Jem (Gutierrez) sobrang masunurin talaga kahit senior ko siya,” said Rondina, who was then paired with RJ Rivera when the Tigresses won the crown in her rookie season in 2014.
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