MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas (UST) star Sisi Rondina had no explanation for her team's shocking loss to University of the East on Wednesday — a costly defeat that may have just killed the Tigresses' chances of making the Final 4 in UAAP Season 80.
Despite a 25-point outing from Rondina, UE still came away with a 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24 triumph, handing the Tigresses their fourth loss in a row. Now at 2-6, UST will need to win the rest of its games if its hopes to make it to the Final 4.
"Wala akong masabi," a visibly frustrated Rondina said after the game. "Bibitaw na lang ako (ng salita) na tatrabahuhin na lang talaga namin kasi nandoon na pero kulang pa rin, lapses pa rin."
The loss was a historic one for the UST women's volleyball program. It marked the first time in the Final 4 era that the Tigresses lost to the UE Lady Warriors – something that head coach Kungfu Reyes harped on at the end of the game.
Reyes said that back when he was playing for the Black and Gold, it was unheard of for UST to lose to UE. Thus, he repeatedly tried to encourage his players during the contest, exhorting them to play for their alma mater's honor.
" 'Pag natalo tayo dito, gagawa kayo ng history. Hanggang sa pagtanda niyo dala natin 'to, sama-sama, so history happened ngayon," said Reyes.
That they were on the wrong end of history should serve as a lesson to the Tigresses, said the coach.
"Maging aral sa amin, sa mga bata, na protektahan syempre ‘yung pride ng eskwelahan," he said.
Rondina had no time to dwell on the historic implications of the loss. The Tigresses have now dropped four games in a row despite another high-scoring game from her, and they had to hold another players-only meeting after the game.
The Tigresses already had a similar meeting after losing to University of the Philippines a week ago, and back then Rondina expressed her confidence that her team would bounce back. Back then, she stressed that she trusted her teammates to step up.
This time, Rondina offered no promises other than that they will keep fighting.
"Wala akong ibang masabi talaga, promise . . . Ipaglalaban na lang namin kung ano ‘yung pa ‘yung kaya naming ilaban sa sarili namin and lalong lalo na sa university namin," she vowed.
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