UAAP: Christine Ubaldo leads FEU to winning start in women’s volleyball
MANILA, Philippines–There’s this strong compulsion for Christine Ubaldo to show up with her finest form each time the Far Eastern University setter hits the floor.
Playing for renowned setter and now FEU coach Tina Salak, Ubaldo didn’t disappoint in leading the Lady Tamaraws to a season-opening 25-16, 23-25, 25-17, 26-24 win over the University of the Philippines at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday.
Ubaldo tossed 16 excellent sets on top of five points and two blocks, helping her team overcome a late charge by the Lady Maroons that could have forced a five-setter.
“It’s definitely a good start for the team, the program and the community. We struggled in training and past experiences, but we have proven that we can overcome them,’’ said Salak, who took over the coaching chores of the school that she once led to back-to-back UAAP titles in the 90s.
Jovelyn Fernandez scored 18 points, 17 of them coming off a variety of kills while Chenie Tagaod and Alyzza Devosora added 13 and 12 points each for the Lady Tamaraws, who thrived on UP’s clump of errors.
Devosora put FEU within match point with a pair of attacks and UP’s Stephanie Bustrillo sailed her attack beyond the limited confines, ending the match that saw Salak in jubilation with the rest of the team.
“I can feel a little bit of pressure playing for her (Salak) because we know that she’s legendary. I’ve been learning a lot from coach Tina and the pressure has been slowly waning off the more time I spend with her,’’ said Ubaldo.
Salak, who captured the MVP during the 1995 UAAP season, was a three-time Southeast Asian Games medalist—a silver medal in the 1995 Chiang Mai SEAG, a bronze in the 1997 Jakarta Games and another third-place finish in the 2005 Manila edition.
“I want them to play the way I did when I was with the (FEU) team before. I want a childlike attitude without being afraid of what other people will say, regardless of the emotions that you show out there,’’ said Salak.
FEU’s victory broke an 11-game losing streak after finishing Season 84 with a win-loss record of 1-13.
Alyssa Bertolano had 14 points and Nina Ytang poured most of her 13 points in UP’s comeback trail while Jewel Encarnacion and Stephanie Bustrillo added 12 apiece.