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UE, UST rookies making noise


Two promising rookies hogged the limelight in the opening weekend of the University Athletic Association Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

University of the East freshman Casiey Dongallo and University of Santo Tomas neophyte Angge Poyos turned the Mall of Asia Arena into their stage for their memorable debut performances that powered their squads into the win column.

Dongallo, a sought-after winger from California Academy, made heads turn with her great display of firepower and on-court smarts as whipped out one of the best introductions in league history.

The 18-year-old rising star was fearless facing a more experienced Ateneo de Manila University side after punching in an eye-popping 27-point eruption in the Lady Warriors’ 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-18, victory last Saturday.

Her point production was the most for a rookie debut in the Final Four era.

Dongallo was a menace at the wing, pounding in 26 kills in an impressive 39 percent attacking efficiency. She anchored UE’s first win over the Blue Eagles in 14 years.

But Dongallo admitted that she was actually jittery during the whole match.

“Honestly, I was really nervous in my first UAAP game. My teammates were hyping me up, telling me ‘You can do it.’ Kayce (Balingit) was telling me that people were here to watch UE and me play. That they were here to see me play so I need to show them what I can do,” Dongallo said.

“They were telling me on the sidelines that I just have to play my game and I will be fine,” she added.

On the other hand, the pint-sized Poyos gave the Golden Tigresses faithful hope following the departure of ace scorer and leader Eya Laure after a fourth-place finish last year.

The high-flying open spiker fired 16 points coming from 13 kills and three kill blocks as UST scored a major upset to start its campaign over last year’s
runner-up National University, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22, last Sunday.

Many thought the Tigresses, a vertically disadvantaged squad this year, would have a hard time looking for points after the 20-point averaging Laure decided to forgo her final year but Poyos allayed this worry with her scoring prowess.

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