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Tigresses snap Lady Bulldogs’ 20-game winning streak

University of Santo Tomas stunned erstwhile unbeaten defending champion National University, 25-23, 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 15-11, to notch its second straight win in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

A telling 8-1 telling run in the fifth set allowed the Tigresses to turn a 2-5 deficit into a 10-6 advantage, which was enough to cushion a late rally by the Lady Bulldogs, who saw their 20-game winning streak dating back to the pandemic-cancelled Season 82 in 2020 snapped.

UST, which took advantage of NU’s six costly errors in the deciding frame, tied its victim and Adamson University at second spot with 2-1 win-loss slates just behind undefeated De La Sa Salle University (2-0).

Rookie Regina Jurado and veteran Eya Laure delivered 18 points each and combined for 28 of the Tigresses’ 56 attack points. Milena Alessandrini, who had an injury scare early in the fourth set after hurting her right ankle following a bad landing before returning in the fifth frame, posted 14 markers in UST’s first win over NU in four years.

Laure added 14 digs, Jurado got 11 digs while Alessandrini tallied 10 excellent receptions. Cassie Carballo dished out 24 excellent sets for UST.

The Tigresses, coincidentally, were the last team to beat the Lady Bulldogs before their run, 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16, back on 27 April 2019.

“The flow of the game went up and down. Those were the undertakings that we need to overcome,” UST coach Kungfu Reyes said.

“We struggled when our middles went cold, but we have stable wing spikers,” he added. “Luckily, I think NU had a bad game. But even in a bad game, it’s hard to get a win against them. We have to bleed for every single point.”

The Lady Bulldogs went up, 5-2, after rookie Vangie Alinsug scored on a crosscourt hit. A service error by Erin Pangilinan in the next play started an avalanche of Tigresses scoring spurt that created enough separation to preserve the win.

Laure hammered a cross to put UST at match point, 14-9. NU saved two match points on an error by Alessandrini and a block by Alinsug on Laure.

Laure ended the two-hour, 31-minute match with a kill block on Alyssa Solomon.

Solomon finished with 22 points, reigning Most Valuable Player Bella Belen got 17 markers while Pangilinan had 13 for the Lady Bulldogs.

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