UAAP: Det Pepito gets going just in time to help UST clinch Final Four berth
MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas libero Detdet Pepito admitted she had a hard time finding her groove against Far Eastern University before leading her team to a Final Four-clinching win in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
“Nahirapan po ako nung una kasi nga ang hirap maginit. Siguro nasabayan namin yung kalaban,” said Pepito after UST completed the Final Four cast, joining La Salle, National University, and Adamson.
(It took time for me to heat up. I think we played at the pace of our opponents.)
Pepito still got her rhythm and protected UST’s floor with 21 digs and 19 excellent receptions in their 26-24, 22-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory over FEU on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“The highlight of today’s game is we showed how we fight back. [Getting the] win is what’s important for us now. So we reminded each other that you are not allowed to be overwhelmed by your mistakes,” she said in Filipino.
UST coach KungFu Reyes lauded the effort of Pepito, whom he calls ‘B7’, after shrugging off her lethargic start.
“B7 activated. Detdet had a hard time in the first and second sets. But at least, B7 was active in the latter part of the game,” Reyes said in Filipino.
The sophomore credited UST’s balanced attack, led by Eya Laure’s 28-point explosion with Jonna Perdido providing the spark off the bench with seven points.
“Thankfully, [our early struggle] was a perfect wake-up call. All of us played well. I’m thankful also to Jonna (Perdido) because she performed well, too,” Pepito said.
UST, which won its fourth straight game for a 9-3 record tied with defending champion NU, shifts its focus to its crucial match against the Lady Bulldogs to boost its chances for the last twice-to-beat incentive on Wednesday at FilOil EcoOil Centre.
Pepito puts a premium on their preparation, knowing the importance of the game that will affect the Final Four seedings.
“We will prepare well starting tomorrow. There is no time to relax and we have to execute the things we do in training. It’s important for the top two spot,” she said.