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Inquirer top 7 UAAP 81 women’s volleyball players: Week 5

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 03:51 AM March 19, 2019

Every week, INQUIRER Sports will be ranking the seven best performers in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. The author will base the rankings on the players’ team standings, statistics, and the intangibles that don’t appear on the stat sheets.

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MANILA, Philippines—The first half of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament has come to an end.

This is the point where teams are starting to position themselves to be legitimate title contenders or just lousy pretenders.

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Ateneo has so far taken pole position at the end of the first round with a 6-1 record but defending champion De La Salle and University of Santo Tomas are right behind with the two teams tied at the No. 2 spot with 5-2 records.

University of the Philippines and Far Eastern University found themselves stuck in a tough race with both teams sharing fourth place with 4-3 cards.

National University may be at a humble 2-5 for the No. 6 seed but that win-loss record won’t reflect the Lady Bulldogs’ talent and they could very well cause problems for Final Four contenders in the next round.

At the tailend of the race are University of the East and Adamson University with both teams at 1-6.

With that out of the way, here are the seven players that made the last week of the first round such a joy to watch.

1. Bea De Leon (Ateneo de Manila University, middle blocker)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Bea de Leon Ateneo

Bea de Leon. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Bea De Leon was on a slump in the tournament’s first four weeks posting meager production of just six points a game in the Ateneo’s first five games, although the Lady Eagles went 4-1 in that stretch.

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Week 5, though, was a different playing field for De Leon as she not only snap out of her funk, she did it in style.

De Leon had her first double-digit scoring games this week as she led Ateneo to a pair of wins to finish with a 6-1 mark at the end of the first round. Her performance also earned her the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week citation.

The fifth-year Lady Eagle soared this week posting an average of 13.5 points in the two outings against NU and Adamson.

2. Cherry Rondina (University of Santo Tomas, outside spiker)
Weeks on list: 3
Last week: No.2

Cherry Rondina UST

Cherry Rondina. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

There’s no denying that Cherry Rondina is the league’s most potent scorer.

Rondina and the Golden Tigresses had just one game this week and the 5-foot-6 dynamo showed just how lethal she is on the offensive end with 17 points in a straight sets win over University of the East, 25-18, 25-14, 25-20.

That production, which was well within her 17.4 average, made Rondina the league’s leading scorer at the end of the first round with a total of 122 points.

3. Jennifer Nierva (National University, libero)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Jennifer Nierva NU

Jennifer Nierva. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

This year’s rookie class is positioning itself as arguably the best batch since 2012 saw Ara Galang and Alyssa Valdez burst into the UAAP scene.

A certain youngster in UST may be capturing the limelight with her scoring prowess but there’s one Lady Bulldog slowly making her name in the collegiate scene through her impressive defense.

Enter NU’s Jennifer Nierva.

The Lady Bulldogs went 1-1 this week, which was the key factor why Nierva wasn’t named Player of the Week, and a huge part of that split was the rookie libero’s near impenetrable ground game.

Nierva averaged 27.5 excellent digs and 29.5 successful receptions this week.

4. Eya Laure (University of Santo Tomas, opposite hitter)
Weeks on list: 3
Last week: No.1

Eya Laure UST

Eya Laure. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Eya Laure had to settle for the No. 4 spot after UST played only one game this week.

Laure, though, was still impressive in her own right putting up 15 points against UE and her production created a ripple effect bigger than what she did on the match itself.

The rookie finished the first round with a total of 117 points making her the second leading scorer behind teammate Rondina.

Now talk about a golden duo.

5. Tin Tiamzon (De La Salle University, opposite hitter)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Tin Tiamzon La Salle

Tin Tiamzon. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

La Salle played just one game this week and Tin Tiamzon used that lone match to show that she’s still one of the Lady Spikers’ most viable options.

Despite sharing the same role as rookie Jolina Dela Cruz, Tiamzon has coexisted fairly well with her younger teammate.

The Lady Spikers had a quick affair on Saturday, taking care of FEU in straight sets, 25-15, 25-19, 26-24, and Tiamzon wasn’t only the team’s offensive leader as she was also the emotional chief.

Tiamzon took the mantle from injured captain Desiree Cheng last week and she continued being that de facto leader even when their skipper returned to the floor.

Her 13 points in La Salle’s win over the Lady Tamaraws seemed like an icing on the cake for Tiamzon’s true value within the Lady Spikers.

6. Ponggay Gaston (Ateneo de Manila University, outside spiker)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Gaston Ateneo

Ponggay Gaston. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Kat Tolentino has been the one receiving much of the praise for Ateneo’s success in the outside hitter position in the past four weeks of the tournament.

This week, though, Ponggay Gaston showed that she could also be the main factor within the Lady Eagles’ offense.

Gaston, who was overlooked for much of the season, had a solid week for the Lady Eagles averaging 13 points in Ateneo’s two wins.

7. Princess Robles (National University, outside spiker)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Princess Robles NU Lady Bulldogs

Princess Robles. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Nierva isn’t the only rookie making a splash at NU.

The Lady Bulldogs have six rookies this season, including injured setter Joyme Cagande, but this week saw two of them shine the brightest.

As Nierva anchored NU’s defense, Princess Robles was the one leading the offense.

Robles was crucial in the Lady Bulldogs’ 1-1 campaign this week as she averaged 17.5 points in those two games.

And it wasn’t just this week that Robles produced stellar numbers, she ended the first round at the No. 5 spot in the Best Scorers table with a total of 101 points.

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TAGS: Ateneo Lady Eagles, Bea de Leon, Cherry Rondina, De La Salle Lady Spikers, Eya Laure, Jennifer Nierva, National University Lady Bulldogs, Ponggay Gaston, Princess Robles, Sports, Tin Tiamzon, UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses
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