by yuli flestado
Yesterday, the University of Santo Tomas tigresses lost against Far Eastern University lady tams. I’m quite disheartened of course. Although I have come to love the sport per se, I stay faithfully cheering for USTe! Every defeat is a heart break. Technically speaking, the season for the tigresses has not yet ended since they still have to bout Adamson Lady Falcons for the third spot title. The skirmish for third spot lead me in question, will the fangs of the tigers still eager to chump the falcons or will they just let go of the match as an after effect of yesterday’s game. UST is a very moody team, they are consistently erratic.
It was a very lethargic start for UST, in fact the first point was earned by FEU. Aiza Maizo the team captain was well guarded by the tams. Setter Rhea Dimaculangan was reprimanded to distribute the ball to the other players as Maizo had difficulty creating successful attacks. There were also a lot of errors seen in the game, net and service may be common yet causing so much self destruction, Maizo was also seen trying to cross the ball using her right hand, of course that did work well. Ortiz, the quicker wasn’t able to contribute points as expected on her. Ditto with the case for the silent operator Bernice Co who was also reprimanded for her blocking skills, she is famed for her simple yet intelligent attacks but there’s no much room for those yesterday day as points were mostly gained coming from bullet-speed spikes. At the middle part of the game, Coach Shaq de los Reyes tried some experiment of combinations letting Lorraine Zapanta, Kim Lazaro, Sarah Gonzales and Jesicca Curato played inside the court. It was a no show for crown favorite and used to be the main setter of UST, Denise Tan. During the fourth set while FEU was few points away from wining, someone form UST said, “hindi tayo pwedeng matalo”. Sad thing, Rachele Daquis put the nail in the coffin by a powerful hit ending UST’s chance to claim back the lost crown.
With regards to the teams playing for the finals, it offer a very palatable meal for all volleyball aficionados out there. The FEU lady tams is a team not new to the finals, they’ve been playing for that volley-crown even before I was born. Despite of the major absence of the superstar (famed for her setting and spiking abilities) and last season’s most valuable player Semana and of course the support plays coming from Babanto and Cafranca, the team successfully found its groove. Young setter Jose is now quite comfortable in her position tossing for powerful spikers Gonzalez and the female version of Edjet Mabbayad, Morada. Daquis who used to work as a loner previously has now developed skills in leading her team as she is now the captain ball. Back during V-league days, the team was questioned on their strategy of letting the benchwarmers play. The team’s poor performance at that league definitely paid off as what is happening now in the court. Can the tamaraws mash into pebbles the arrows of the lady green archers?
Or will the archers hit bull’s eye the tamaraws? The De la sale lady spikers undoubtedly is at its peak. Santos who is one of the responsible spikers for la salle’s three-peat era is maturely leading her team towards success. Mercado and Alarca are also playing prolifically. Must mention, their new setter is quite compensating for the absence of Saet. The question is, will they stand the pressure being at the finals? Their statistic would show that they are having difficulty in wining when there’s a fifth set. The main point is, if they cannot grab the crown for this season, most likely it’ll be after 48 years before they could play in the finals again. This season is undoubtedly rookies show. There are a lot of first timers who play like veterans, to mention few people we have Soriano of Adamson, Ortiz, Caballejo and CO for UST, the almost all-rookie-ADMU. To think, how would the archers compete with today’s rookies? No problem if they are hiding some secret weapon(s) though. Not to take anything away from DLSU, but this season is a should-make situation.
Will it be FEU or DLSU? Both teams are worthy for the crown but I’m infinitely cheering Go USTe! :P
NOTE: Photos courtesy to Dondi Nolasco.