UAAP: UST Tigresses make sure youth not wasted on the young
UAAP

Hungry UST Tigresses make sure youth not wasted on the young

UST Tigresses UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball

UST Tigresses’ Cassie Carballo in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Not many would have listed University of Santo Tomas (UST) as a potential finalist before the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament started.

After all, the Golden Tigresses did not look like they had a lot to work with on paper, with mostly rookies and sophomores making up their roster after the departure of most of their seniors—including former Queen Tigress Eya Laure.

UST’s current lineup was also not the most desirable when talking about height as the Tigresses are only averaging around 6 feet—but all those factors that made a lot of people doubt their chances was not a hindrance for the Tigresses to show their grit to finally make their way back to the Finals.

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“As early as our first game, we knew that [a lot of people] had already counted us out,” libero Bernadett Pepito, currently the most experienced Tigress who in just her junior year has been tasked to be the captain, said in Filipino.

“Not being among the tallest teams is not a liability,” coach KungFu Reyes told the Inquirer in Filipino in a previous interview. “What’s important is the skills that we have, the system that UST has and our hearts … we will fight, of course.”

READ: UAAP: Inspired by doubters, UST Tigresses end finals drought

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UST showed exactly by reaching the Finals for the first time in five years—getting there first, in fact—after dethroning La Salle in a thrilling five-set clash that lasted for almost threes hours on Sunday night, beating the same team right on the same date as they did when the Tigresses entered the championship round back in 2019.

Back then, the team powered by Laure and Sisi Rondina lost to Ateneo after taking Game 1 of the best-of-three series.

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Longer preparation

UST Tigresses UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament UAAP volleyball

UST Tigresses clinch a ticket to UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball Finals after dethroning La Salle. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

This season, the Tigresses, who last bagged a title 14 years ago, own the luxury of a longer rest and preparation time as they await their opponent between National University (NU) and Far Eastern University.

The Lady Tamaraws stunned the Lady Bulldogs in the opener of their semifinal series to drag the twice-to-beat-protected NU to a deciding game.

READ: UAAP: Young, undersized UST Tigresses ready for fight of their lives

Pepito, Renee Peñafiel, Xyza Gula, Pia Abbu, Jonna Perdido, Pierre Abellana, setter Cassie Carballo and Regina Jurado—most of whom are sophomores and none of them around in 2019—are holdovers from last season, when Laure led the Tigresses to a fourth-place finish.

And they want a different result from last year—and from five years ago—this time with rookies led by the powerful Angge Poyos, Karylle Caasi, Mae Coronado, Em Banagua, Bianca Plaza and Maribeth Hilongo.

“History repeats itself, but this time we will change the result, we will strive for it,” said Reyes, who has downplayed what his wards have achieved all-season long as to mere luck. “We will strive to get lucky again when the Finals come.

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“We will change what happened in 2019.”

TAGS: Sports, UAAP, Volleyball

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