Cherry Rondina, UST dominate Ateneo in Game 1, near UAAP title | Inquirer Sports

Cherry Rondina, UST dominate Ateneo in Game 1, near UAAP title

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 05:52 PM May 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas continued its spirited run and took Game 1 of the finals against Ateneo, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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The Golden Tigresses need one more win to earn their first championship in nine years after they won the title back in 2010.

UST’s win also broke its 15-game losing streak to Ateneo that stretched back to 2012.

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Cherry Rondina showed her MVP pedigree with 23 points to lead the Golden Tigresses while Rookie of the Year Eya Laure added 11 points.

With Rondina firing on all cylinders, the Lady Eagles failed to counter with their offense as they tallied just 24 attack points to the Golden Tigresses’ 46.

There was a brief moment in the third set when Ateneo tried to out up a fight with Kat Tolentino cutting the Lady Eagles’ deficit to one, 21-20, but what followed was an error from rookie teammate Erika Raagas giving UST the 22-20 buffer.

That error proved costly for the Lady Eagles as Rondina absolutely pounced on Ateneo’s shell-shocked defense.

Rondina scored on two straight points in domineering fashion with the 24-20 match point coming off an improbable off-balanced kill.

UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes said one major part of their free flowing offense was a more relaxed Rondina.

Unlike in Season 80 when Rondina practically carried UST on her back, Season 81 proved to be a totally different playing field.

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“The burden that Sisi’s felt this year wasn’t that heavy as last year when we really pushed her to the limit,” said Reyes in Filipino. “This time we don’t have to get everything from her because there are people who can how help her and let her play her own game.”

Rondina willed UST in Season 80 becoming the league’s Best Scorer with 296 total points but received little help from her teammates with that year’s top rookie Milena Alessandrini missing much of the tournament because of injury.

“Sisi has a much better aura now compared to before because back then she’s not allowed to make a mistake, but this time she has a room for errors but she answers with even more points,” said Reyes.

UST’s offense, however, wasn’t its only strong suit with rookie libero Janel Delerio delivering big time in the defensive end.

Ateneo tallied just one service ace, while UST had 10, and it was thanks to Delerio’s near impenetrable ground game as she finished with 12 excellent digs and seven successful receptions.

Kat Tolentino led Ateneo with 12 points.

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TAGS: Ateneo Lady Eagles, Cherry Rondina, Finals, Game 1, Sports, title, UAAP, UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, UST
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