By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses pulled off a massive stunner after shattering the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs’ 20-game winning streak in the ongoing UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament last March 4, 2023, held at the Mall of Asia Arena.
NU’s disappointing loss was their first ever in almost three years after absorbing its last defeat on April 27, 2019.
The Golden Tigresses put up a performance for the ages and went toe-to-toe with NU in five thrilling sets, 25-23, 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 15-11, to improve their record to 2-1.
UST immediately imposed their will in the first two sets after shocking the reigning and defending champions with a quick 2-0 advantage.
Only needing 25 more points to score a jaw-dropping 3-0 win against last season’s only formidable squad, the Lady Bulldogs showed their championship experience which helped them force a fifth and deciding set.
The explosive duo of Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen anchored the NU run in sets three and four and helped the Lady Bulldogs enter the crucial fifth set with an off-the-charts confidence level.
However, UST rediscovered its offensive spark midway through the last set that helped them erase an early 2-5 deficit courtesy of the steady play of superstar outside hitter Eya Laure.
Laure’s clutch spikes mounted the Golden Tigresses’ 8-1 offensive run that sucked the life out of the Lady Bulldogs who saw their lead suddenly evaporate in a jiffy.
Belen tried to insert a dose of energy for the NU squad but UST’s last offensive fireworks in the next three possessions officially ended their legendary 20-game winning streak.
Laure once again delivered for UST and scored 18 points built from 14 successful attacks, 14 excellent digs, and four blocks.
“Luckily, bad game si NU. Pero kait bad game, ang hirap pa ring manalo sa kanila. Very point kailangang mong magtrabaho. Luckily nakuha namin yung fifth set,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes.