Golden Tigresses deny Lady Spikers reverse sweep, keep unbeaten record

Photo by Daniela Thricia Anne Elgarico /THE FLAME

The UST Golden Tigresses survived the scare of reigning champions DLSU Lady Spikers in a five-set thriller dubbed as a battle of “David and Goliath,” 25-18, 25-23, 14-25, 16-25, 15-12, in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Team coordination and strong defense made the rookie-laden Tigresses the only undefeated squad in the league, improving their record to 3-0.

Tigress outside spiker Jonna Perdido commanded UST with a career-high 24 points, which consisted of 21 attacks and three blocks.

The first set was a close fight as UST middle blocker Mary Banagua pierced through DLSU’s floor defense, 7-all.

Perdido blasted off a crosscourt kill to extend UST’s lead to four points, 15-11. She continued to unleash aggressive attacks, sealing the frame with two consecutive hits, 25-18.

The Tigresses had a sloppy start in the second set as DLSU middle blocker Thea Gagate and setter Julyana Tolentino ignited the Lady Spikers’ offense. This allowed DLSU to lead by four, 16-20.

UST fired up when Perdido launched back-to-back off-the-block attacks that resulted in a 25-23 set-win.

The Lady Spikers showed the heart of a champion during the third set, overwhelming the Tigresses with an 11-point haul, courtesy of a quick attack by middle blocker Amie Provido, 14-25.

The fourth set had a similar story, but Banagua made her presence felt after a huge block against DLSU’s wingers, 8-all. The Lady Spikers regained their composure after Tigress rookie Angge Poyos committed an out-of-bounds attack, 16-25.

Carrying the momentum in the fifth set, reigning rookie-MVP Angel Canino launched two consecutive kills to give DLSU a 3-7 cushion.

Not allowing themselves to be buried, the Tigresses clawed back with a 4-0 run capped by Perdido’s crosscourt hit to tie the match at 7-all.

The Lady Spikers gained a three-point edge, 9-12, not knowing they would not score a point again, as the Tigresses growled their way to a 6-0 run. The late-game heroics of Banagua delivered the match-winning point.

Poyos helped cruise UST’s offense by notching 22 points with 20 attacks, an ace and a block, while Banagua chalked up 11 markers.

Canino carried DLSU with a game-high 28 points on 24 spikes, three blocks and an ace. Provido and Gagate, meanwhile, contributed 11 points each.

The Golden Tigresses will defend their clean record as they face the FEU Lady Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, March 3. F

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