Rookie France Ronquillo gives FEU lift in Final Four
MANILA, Philippines—France Ronquillo doesn’t have the same notoriety as fellow Far Eastern University rookie Lycha Ebon in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament but she proved she also has a bright future ahead of her.
The fourth-seeded Lady Tamaraws’ season was on the line against No. 1 Ateneo but coming through in the team’s most important game this season was Ronquillo, who held her own in a five-set stunner, 10-25, 25-23, 25-22, 12-25, 15-8, over the Lady Eagles Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Ronquillo came off the bench in the second set for FEU and was the architect of the Lady Tamaraws’ late 6-0 run that ultimately buried the Lady Eagles.
“When I first entered I still felt nervous and I really had cold hands because last year I was just watching my Ates play and now I’m here helping them,” said Ronquillo in Filipino.
“I didn’t waste my time on the court and I made sure that I can help my teammates in any way possible.”
Ronquillo finished with seven points in the match and was the one serving during the Lady Tamaraws’ scoring spurt in the fifth set that gave them a 13-7 lead.
She also notched a service ace for FEU’s 12-7 buffer.
Ebon, who’s nursing a left knee injury, said she gave Ronquillo a simple pep talk before the game that their seniors would rely on them to deliver.
“We talked to each other that we shouldn’t be afraid and just be brave because our Ates need us,” said Ebon in Filipino. “We need to help them and I’m super proud of Elize.”
Ronquillo added that she couldn’t let her seniors down especially in a game that further extended their season.
The Lady Tamaraws forced Ateneo to use its twice-to-beat advantage with the rubber match set for Wednesday.
“I took my courage from the people who believe in me because as a rookie I can’t disappoint the ones who have faith in us,” said Ronquillo. “I saw how much my Ates want to go to the finals and that this isn’t the end of our season.”