UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas, once on the brink of elimination, arranged a titular showdown with National University after thwarting Far Eastern University, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20, in the knockout semifinals of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship Season 2 on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
Super rookie Angeline Poyos sizzled with 21 points on 17 hits and four blocks as the Golden Tigresses stabilized their title bid in the nick of time after nearly squandering a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Jonna Perdido and Regina Jurado added 15 and 14 points, respectively, for UST in earning a rematch against reigning champion NU after their semifinal duel in the inaugural season.
UST and NU, which swept Adamson in the other semis bracket, slug it out on Friday for Game 1 of the best-of-three finals series of SSL Season 2 backed by Mikasa, Eurotel, Victory Liner, Summit Bottle Water, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken, R and B Milk Tea, Potato Corner, Rebel Sports, Converge ICT Solutions, Genius Sports and United Auctioneers, Inc.
“Gusto ko ‘yung attitude ng mga bata. Hindi sila basta bumigay. Nilaban nila ‘wag lang maulit ‘yung sa St. Benilde. Hindi sila bumitaw. ‘Yun ang natutunan namin. Wala talagang bumitaw,” said deputy mentor Lerma Giron in lieu of head coach Kungfu Reyes.
The Golden Tigresses, indeed, never let up with two straight wins since a tough 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 11-15 loss to the Lady Blazers in Game 1 of the quarterfinals.
Armed with a win-once bonus, UST took care of business with a 25-15, 25-16, 19-25, 32-30 win over St. Benilde in Game 2 to march on to the semis – where it overcame FEU.
Save for a second-set meltdown, the Golden Tigresses kept their poise in taming the Lady Tamaraws to earn another shot at the Lady Bulldogs.
UST bowed to NU in the SSL Season 1 semis, 23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 17-25, before losing to Adamson in the bronze-medal match to settle for fourth place.
The Golden Tigresses also absorbed a 19-25, 20-25, 16-25 defeat to the Lady Bulldogs in the elimination round this season but are hoping for a different result in the finale.
Meanwhile, Chenie Tagaod had 16 points to pace the Lady Tamaraws in a semis exit after topping the other playoff group of the SSL Season 2 in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Faida Bakanke and Kiesha Bedonia added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Lady Tamaraws, who still have a chance at a podium finish against the Lady Falcons in the bronze medal match. Ateneo and Arellano will tussle for seventh place while University of the East and St. Benilde battle for fifth place.
All SSL Season 2 games are accessible across all platforms live and on-demand through the social media pages of Plus Network and SSL with Solar Sports, Blast TV and Aliw Channel 23 as TV partners.
Games on Friday
(Rizal Memorial Coliseum)
9 a.m. – AU vs ADMU
11 .m. – UE vs CSB
2 p.m. – AdU vs FEU
5 p.m. – NU vs UST