MANILA Philippines — University of Santo Tomas men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams extended their respective championship dynasties after sweeping squads from National University in the UAAP Season 85 on Tuesday at Sands SM By The Bay.
Gen Eslapor and Babylove Barbon delivered the UST Tigresses’ fifth straight championship after taking down first-time finalists Honey Grace Cordero and Kly Orillaneda of the NU Lady Bulldogs, 21-15, 21-16.
The Tigresses extended their win streak to 37 games dating back to 2016 after winning all nine matches this season.
Jaron Requinton and Rancel Varga also completed a perfect 9-0 season capped by a 21-16, 21-14 victory over NU’s James Buytrago and Pol Salvador to earn their fourth straight championship.
UST remains the most successful program in the sport with eight women’s crowns and seven titles in the men’s division.
“We’re so happy and grateful to our coaches (Paul Jan Doloiras and Romnick Rico) because they honed our talents. This success belongs to them,” said Requinton in Filipino after taking the season MVP award. “If not for them and all the five-peat and four-peat.”
Requinton, a national team player, was also glad to steer the Growling Tigers with two titles in a span of a year, as they also defeated the Bulldogs in the Season 84 Finals last summer.
“I can’t believe it because it was just a span of six months. It’s tiring because I also played for the national team as a defender. But here in the UAAP, I am a blocker. It’s a huge adjustment for me but it was all worth it,” he said.
Barbon, who captured her second straight MVP, said it was worth the wait for the Tigresses as the women’s competition was not played in Season 84. But she and Eslapor hardly missed a beat after another dominant season, extending the dynasty, which Sisi Rondina started six years ago.
“Our goal was to get the championship because we waited and worked hard for how many years. It paid off,” Barbon said in Filipino. “We’re happy to get our goal despite the pandemic.”
University of the Philippines returned to the women’s podium, as Euri Eslapor, Gen’s younger sister, and Alyssa Bertolano rebounded from a second-set loss to repulse La Salle’s Justine Jazareno and Jolina dela Cruz, 21-18, 12-21, 15-6.
Cordero, a Silay City native, took the Rookie of the Year honors.
Ateneo achieved its best finish since winning the men’s crown in 2015 as Jian Salarzon and Amil Pacinio turned back Far Eastern University’s Vincent Nadera and Jelord Talisayan, 24-22, 21-16, to secure the bronze medal.
Bacolod City pride Salarzon was named the Rookie of the Year.