University of Santo Tomas spoiled the debut of new Letran College coach Oliver Almadro with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-14 win to stay unbeaten in the 2023 Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship on Monday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Tigresses carved out two close sets before mauling the Lady Knights in the third to bag their second straight win in Pool C of the 16-team SSL 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 and Genius Sports.
Dazzling rookie Angeline Poyos once again delivered, firing 13 points on 11 attacks, an ace and a block as UST took care of business in only 81 minutes after a four-set win over the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the opener.
Xyza Gula added nine while setter Cassie Carballo displayed a different facet of her game with seven points on four aces. Regina Jurado and Kyla Cordora also cashed in seven apiece in the Tigresses’ scattered attack.
“We’re not yet satisfied. We still need to exert a little intensity. Of course, a win is a win, but we feel that we still have something more to show,” UST coach Kungfu Reyes said as his wards, the SSL National Invitationals bronze medalist, fortified their quarterfinal bid with a game left in the preliminary round.
The Tigresses have the two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association champion College of Saint Benilde as their last assignment in Pool B of this event that is also in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Sports Commission.
UST opened its campaign with a 25-12, 21-25, 25-15, 25-21 win over Perpetual but found itself in an early trouble against the souped-up Letran, now under the tutelage of former Ateneo de Manila University mentor Almadro, with a 19-20 deficit.
But the Tigresses rediscovered their groove in time, unloading a 6-1 finishing kick punctuated by Gula’s ace to earn a 25-21 win.
UST imposed its will in the second, controlling the pace for a 22-18 lead before Letran nearly mounted a comeback to within 23-24 off a Marie Nitura’s long bomb from the backrow.
Gula came to the rescue once more, converting a soft touch off the block to push UST to a 2-0 lead that only snowballed to the third where it raced to a scorching 18-8 start for an 11-point win.
Nitura scored 12 points to pace the Lady Knights, who will spike for a bounce back win against Saint Benilde next Saturday.