UAAP volleyball: Inspired Banagua stepping up for UST Tigresses

UAAP volleyball: Inspired Banagua stepping up for UST Tigresses

/ 06:59 PM March 13, 2024

Margaret Banagua UST Tigresses UAAP volleyball

UST Tigresses’ Margaret Banagua.–UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Em Banagua has been University of Santo Tomas’ most consistent middle blocker in their blistering 6-0 start in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

UST, which doesn’t have the tallest roster in the league, is pushing the 6-foot Banagua to deliver in her rookie season. And she proved to be instrumental in the school’s best start since Season 73 in 2011.

“We may not be the tallest players in the league but I used it as inspiration to prove that I can step up for my team,” said Banagua in Filipino after scoring seven points in their 25-22, 25-20, 26-24 win over University of the Philippines on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

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SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball first round

Inching closer to a first-round sweep motivates Banagua to do better after UST matched Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Rhea Dimaculangan’s best start under coach Shaq Delos Santos, who is back with the team as assistant coach to KungFu Reyes. 

“I used my ates’ [legacy] as inspiration. We have to earn respect and make a name for ourselves,” she said. “I have to continue contributing and refrain from overthinking during the game.”

The UST high school product is grateful to have Delos Santos and assistant coaches Rico De Guzman and Robertly Boto, who focus on developing the middle blockers including Bianca Plaza, Mae Coronado, and Pia Abbu.

READ: Behind UST’s unbeaten start in UAAP volleyball: The ‘fantastic’ coaching staff

“It’s a really great factor to have coaches focusing on the team’s blocking because they pay attention to every detail,” Banagua said. “Earlier, I struggled in the first set but I had a chance to make up for it in the second and third sets because of coach Shaq and coach Rico reminded me that I can do it as long as I stick to the system.”

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Delos Santos, for his part, was impressed with the showing of Banagua and the middle blockers, who have been displaying determination and resiliency in the lead.

UST seeks to sweep the first round on Saturday against Adamson at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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TAGS: UAAP Season 86, UST Golden Tigresses

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