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Inquirer top 7 UAAP 81 women’s volleyball players: Week 9

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 01:38 AM April 16, 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.

MANILA, Philippines—The Final Four is officially set and with one week to spare in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.

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Ateneo lost its lone game this week but still maintained its hold of the top seed at 10-2 while De La Salle, the victor of the game, is in second at 9-3.

University of Santo Tomas (9-4) and Far Eastern University (8-5) clinched Final Four spots with the help of National University.

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The Lady Bulldogs (4-9), who are the No. 6 team, defeated University of the Philippines in a five-set thriller and in the process eliminated the fifth-seeded Lady Maroons (6-7) from the Final Four picture.

University of the East is in seventh with a 3-9 card while Adamson University is at the bottom of the standings at 1-11.

With that said and done, here are the top seven players who starred in Week 9.

1. Cherry Rondina (University of Santo Tomas, outside spiker)
Weeks on list: 6
Last week: N/A

Cherry Rondina UST Tigresses

Cherry Rondina. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Cherry Rondina is finally Final Four-bound.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that a player of Rondina’s caliber, a multiple-time member of the national team in both the indoor and beach volleyball circuits, has been to the semifinals just once before 2019.

Nevertheless, Rondina showed why she deserves to be in the Final Four after a couple of inspiring performances that earned her the Chooks to Go-Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week plum.

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Rondina led UST to a 2-0 sweep this week averaging 20.5 points in wins over FEU and UP.

She’s also held fort atop the Best Scorers table with a total of 238 points.

2. Eya Laure (University of Santo Tomas, outside spiker)
Weeks on list: 7
Last week: No.4

Eya Laure UST Golden Tigresses

Eya Laure. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Rondina isn’t the only one doing the damage for UST.

Eya Laure has been Rondina’s steady partner throughout the season and the rookie consistently showed her chops week after week for the Golden Tigresses.

In UST’s two games this week, Laure averaged 14 points while keeping her place as the second-best scorer in the league.

Laure ended Week 9 with a total of 217 points.

3. Jolina Dela Cruz (De La Salle University, opposite hitter)
Weeks on list: 4
Last week: No.3

Jolina dela Cruz La Salle

Jolina dela Cruz. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Jolina Dela Cruz makes another appearance on this list.

De La Salle’s prized rookie is as consistent as anyone in the league averaging 10.8 points for the Lady Spikers throughout their first 12 games of the season.

She put up a cool 14-point performance in La Salle’s romp of Ateneo, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, on Saturday.

Dela Cruz’ efforts put her at the eighth spot in the Best Scorers table with a total of 129 points and she’s also the second-highest scoring opposite hitter in the league behind Ateneo’s Kat Tolentino who has 172.

4. Michelle Cobb (De La Salle University, setter)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Michelle Cobb La Salle

Michelle Cobb. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

De La Salle’s Michelle Cobb is a late debutant on the list and she made her first appearance through one cerebral approach.

La Salle faced Ateneo’s troika of blockers in Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, and Bea De Leon with all three leading the Best Blockers table prior to the Saturday game.

Cobb, all 5-foot-4 of her, was having none of that hullabaloo concerning the Lady Eagles.

Using her smarts, Cobb outwitted the whole Ateneo team, setting up her attackers to the best spots possible negating any advantage the Lady Eagles may have had prior to the match.

Ateneo, which averaged a league-best 2.62 kill blocks per set before the game, had a zilch on that department against the Lady Spikers.

Cobb finished with 16 excellent sets, five less than what her Atenean counterpart Deanna Wong had, but those assists looked convincingly better and it did bring the Lady Spikers the victory.

5. Mary Ann Mendrez (University of the East, outside spiker)
Weeks on list: 2
Last week: N/A

Mendrez UE

Mary Ann Mendrez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

The Lady Warriors may be out of the Final Four race but that doesn’t mean they won’t put up big fights in the tournament.

UE made sure it would improve from its two-win campaign in Season 80 when it took its third win this season at the expense of the Lady Falcons, 25-14, 25-19 25-22.

In the middle of that win was Mendrez who put up 15 points for the Lady Warriors on 11 attacks, one block, and three service aces.

6. Jennifer Nierva (National University, libero)
Weeks on list: 4
Last week: N/A

NU Jennifer Nierva

Jennifer Nierva. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Jennifer Nierva and National University had quite a turnaround in just a matter of days.

The young libero was inconsolable when the Lady Bulldogs lost to FEU, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22, on Wednesday after she tallied just 12 excellent digs and 12 successful receptions.

Nierva, who admitted it was unbecoming of her when she cried following the loss to the Lady Tamaraws, then fixed herself up in the game against UP.

The Lady Bulldogs stunned the Lady Maroons in five sets, 25-21, 26-24, 17-25, 23-25, 17-15, and Nierva was back in her old self chalking up 30 excellent digs and 27 successful receptions.

7. Lourdes Clemente (De La Salle University, middle blocker)
Weeks on list: 1
Last week: N/A

Lourdes Clemente La Salle

Lourdes Clemente. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

In a game that had three of the league’s best blockers on one side, Lourdes Clemente stood her ground for her team.

Clemente, who’s a one-and-done with De La Salle after playing her first four collegiate years at University of Perpetual Help in the NCAA, finished with 10 points for the Lady Spikers.

Of those 10 points, a couple were off blocks.

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TAGS: Cherry Rondina, De La Salle Lady Spikers, Eya Laure, Jennifer Nierva, Jolina dela Cruz, Lourdes Clemente, Mary Ann Mendrez, Michelle Cobb, National University Lady Bulldogs, Sports, UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, University of the East Lady Warriors
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