MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) University of Santo Tomas (UST) remains unbeaten in five-set matches in UAAP Season 84, rallying to break the hearts of Adamson University anew on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Golden Tigresses roared back from a two-set deficit to outlast the Lady Falcons in a thriller, 24-26, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-12, in a winning start to the second round of women's volleyball tournament.
Team captain Eya Laure was once again superb for UST, finishing with 21 points on 17 kills, three blocks and an ace as the Tigresses improved to 6-2 in the season. Also contributing were Camille Victoria (16 points) and Ysa Jimenez (13), as UST again displayed its poise in crunch time situations.
"A win is a win," UST coach Kungfu Reyes said after the game. "Ang learning namin is, hindi kami bumibigay hanggang hindi natatapos."
The Tigresses squandered a 21-16 advantage in the opening set, with Adamson scoring seven unanswered points to take a 23-21 lead. A hit by Trisha Genesis put Adamson at set point, 24-23, before Victoria's crosscourt hit forced a deuce.
But May Nuique beat the UST blockers for a second set point, and Lorene Toring fired an ace to complete the come-from-behind win by the Lady Falcons.
In the second set, it was UST's turn to try and mount a comeback as they recovered from a slow start to come within two points, 19-21, off back-to-back hits by Ypril Tapia late. Adamson won four of the last five rallies, however, with Genesis scoring the final two points to give her team a two-set cushion.
"Ang team ng Adamson, ang hirap kalaban," admitted Reyes. "Ang advice lang namin sa players is, walang nananalo ng dalawang set."
With UST's "support system" stepping up, they were able to snatch the third and fourth frames. Victoria scored clutch hits in Set 3 to hold off the Lady Falcons, while Laure and Jimenez conspired down the stretch of the fourth frame.
In a nip-and-tuck decider, Adamson seized a 12-11 advantage off a poor pass by the Tigresses and a hit by Kate Santiago that bounced off UST libero Janel Delerio.
But UST's net defense rose to the occasion in the clutch. KC Galdones scored a massive block on Toring to knot the count, and a hit by Santiago in the next rally did not cross over, giving UST a 13-12 lead.
Laure was clutch anew, blocking Nuique at the net to put UST at set point, before Adamson squandered an opportunity to extend the match with a poor reception in the next rally.
UST is now 3-0 in five-set matches in Season 84, having also gone the distance against Adamson and De La Salle University in the first round.
"'Yung experience namin, doon kami sumasandal," said Reyes. "Kung ano ang sistemang meron kami, especially during crunch time."
Wasted in the loss was a 23-point effort from Genesis, who had 18 kills and four aces. Santiago also had 18 points, and Adamson middle blockers Toring and Rizza Cruz combined for 26 points.
The Lady Falcons had a 70-58 advantage in kills but also gave away 35 points off their unforced errors. They fell to 4-4 in the season.