Wednesday, July 24

Smashing upset win has Tigresses eyeing fitting followup

Filipino-Italian Milena Alessandrini (No. 6) and the Tigresses pierced the Lady Bulldogs’ aura of invincibility. —UAAP MEDIA

University of Santo Tomas (UST) waited for over a season before finally breaking down the walls that had kept National University (NU) untouchable.

But the Tigresses are aware of the dangers of letting the breakthrough win rush into their heads.

“Every team wants to beat NU and we did,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes. “While we see this as a milestone, we’ll continue to keep our feet on the ground.’’

That’s why the Tigresses are focusing on their next opponents, who will pose a different challenge.

UST takes on the Adamson Lady Falcons on Wednesday at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball, both eager to leap out of a tie at second place with similar 2-1 (win-loss) cards, the same record toted by the idling Bulldogs.

“We’re back to zero against Adamson. We will have a different game plan because the things that we did against NU might not work against Adamson,’’ said Reyes.

The Tigresses dug into the belief they had in themselves to finally feed a loss to the Bulldogs for the first time in the pandemic era. Before that 25-23, 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 15-11 loss to UST four days ago, NU had won 20 straight games dating back to 2020.

Eya Laure’s leadership is the fulcrum on which the Tigresses attack rests, but UST has a balanced roster this season with the likes of Filipino-Italian Milena Alessandrini, Regina Jurado and setter Cassie Carballo also providing key production.

But the Lady Falcons are no easy prey.

Adamson was the first team to expose NU’s vulnerabilities, dragging the Lady Bulldogs to a five setter before eventually losing, and the Lady Falcons have exuded an attacking confidence that allowed them to bounce back by beating Far Eastern University.

That is why Reyes wants to keep the Tigresses as grounded as possible.

“We’ll make the adjustments that are necessary each game and take it one step at a time,’’ said Reyes. “This is a long season, many things can still happen.’’

League-leading La Salle, on the other hand, wants to keep the atmosphere light as it tries to keep its slate clean against winless University of the East.

“We’ve always been reminded to enjoy what we do on the court. If you let pressure get into you, you cannot perform well out there,’’ said rookie Angel Canino moments after the Lady Spikers dumped archnemesis Ateneo in three sets that drove their unbeaten run to three games.

La Salle is also wary that the big victory against its fierce rival might lead to a letdown against a squad that has struggled this season. INQ

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