Casiey Dongallo pulls UE out of slump, then pledges loyalty
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Casiey Dongallo pulls UE out of slump, then pledges loyalty

Casiey Dongallo UE Lady Warriors UAAP volleyball

Casiey Dongallo and the UE Lady Warriors in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

For most of the season, it seemed like the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors were headed nowhere.

As far as the status of its star rookie is concerned, however, that may not be such a bad thing. Casiey Dongallo pulled UE out of a slump in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday, then reiterated she was sticking with the program that served as a platform to burst into the limelight.

“I don’t plan on leaving UE,” Dongallo told reporters after she spearheaded a 26-24, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Adamson at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We’re starting to show some progress so why would I want to leave?”

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READ: Casiey Dongallo shuts down transfer rumors: ‘No plans to leave UE’

Any doubts on her sincerity were washed away by the tears she shed after the victory.

The power-smashing rookie hammered 12 of her game-high 28 points in the final set, including her team’s last five attacks, to end the Lady Warriors’ six-game slump and log the school’s second win this season.

“We’re glad that we finally won,” Dongallo said after tallying 25 attacks, two blocks and an ace to finish two points shy of her career-high 30 points, which she scored against Far Eastern University in the first round.

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READ: Casiey Dongallo eager to make UE a winner in UAAP volleyball

Casiey Dongallo was on a tear in the first round, leading all players in scoring with a total of 158 points, six points better than University of Santo Tomas standout Angeline Poyos. But while Poyos and the Tigresses have been on a roll, Dongallo and the Lady Warriors struggled, giving rise to speculation that she would wind up chasing UAAP glory elsewhere.

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Losses as inspiration

UE Lady Warriors' Casiey Dongallo UAAP

UE Lady Warriors’ Casiey Dongallo. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“I know there are lots of posts of her ready in a UST uniform, and talks with management with La Salle and rumors about SGA and her,” said Dr. Obet Vital, an assistant coach with UE. “All the UE girls are not going anywhere.”

And those losses have not bothered Dongallo. In fact, the effect is quite the opposite.

“[T]hose losses are an inspiration for me,” she said. “People say ‘that’s just UE’ and I want to prove that UE is something, that this is a new UE. That’s why I was so emotional after the game. This is for the seniors because I promised them that when they leave, UE will have a different standing.”

Riza Nogales backstopped Dongallo with 17 points, including six of UE’s eight blocks. Kayce Balingit contributed 10 attacks.

UE has now won as many games as they did in the previous two seasons combined.

“This is a great win and we’ve hit the record. It’s been a while since we had two wins in one year,’’ said Vital, who is coaching the squad during games in lieu of the suspended Jerry Yee. “We’re being asked to win one more, so we’ll just continue to do things better, fight harder and tougher.’’

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Dongallo is also intent on tabbing that next win. But she isn’t putting too much pressure on herself to lead the Lady Warriors.

“I am expected to score a lot and I’m using that as motivation,” she said. “As an 18-year-old, I feel that a lot is expected of me. So I don’t pressure myself. I have teammates like Kizzy (Madriaga) and my older teammates who help me set those points.”

TAGS: UAAP women’s volleyball, University of the East Lady Warriors

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