UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas swept the UAAP beach volleyball championships after ruling the women’s and men’s division yesterday at the Sands SM By The Bay.
The Tigresses became the most successful squad in the sport, as Cherry Rondina and Jem Gutierrez powered the España-based squad to a fourth title with a 21-17, 21-10 victory over Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza in the Finals decider.
UST actually failed to complete a perfect season as it dropped Game 2, 21-17, 17-21, 13-15, earlier in day, but Rondina and Gutierrez won’t be denied in reclaiming the throne.
“Yung last season kasi wala na iyon. It’s another chapter naman,” said Rondina, who won her second MVP award in three years.
“Noong nagbago ang coaching staff at ang partner ko, sinabi ng coach namin na ito ang panibagong libro, ang front page. Yung mga pages po, ito ang training namin. Ito (championship) ang last page namin.”
The Growling Tigers were successful in hacking out a 9-0 season sweep, as MVP KR Guzman and Anthony Arbasto downed the hard-fighting Tamaraws pair of Jude Garcia and Jeremiah Barrica, 21-16, 21-16, in Game 2.
UST has now won three men’s championships, tying FEU and National University for the most number of crowns.
As a consolation for the Tamaraws, Barrica, who replaced Richard Solis at the start of the step-ladder semifinals, was named the Rookie of the Year.
“Grabe ang puso nila na maglaro. Nag-cramps sila (noong Game 1), ang sakit na noon, pero nag-push pa rin sila. Malaki ang respeto namin sa FEU, mga bata pa, may panahon rin sila,” said Guzman.
The triumph ended the Tigers’ heartbreak of being bridesmaids for the last three seasons.
“Yun ang nag-drive sa akin to push further na makukuha ko ang gusto ko,” said Guzman.