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Looking at the UST Lady Tigresses in UAAP Volleyball
by rick olivares pic from mark cristino/abs-cbn
Before the start of the women’s volleyball season, it was obvious that Ateneo and La Salle would be right up there contending for the UAAP Season 77 championship.
I pegged UST to challenge for a Final Four slot yet after four matches played, they are at 1-3 losing to La Salle, UP, and Ateneo in that order. They have a fantastic rookie in EJ Laure who looks to be the second coming of Alyssa Valdez. Furthermore, head coach Odjie Mamon also had a talented core of Pam Lastimosa, Carmela Tunay, Alex Cabanos, Jessey De Leon, Marivic Meneses, and Chlodia Cortez.
They’ve got a tall frontline that does well in their net defense in Meneses, Lastimosa, and Laure. But when the spikes and drop shots evade the wall, it is my opinion that their floor defense has been wanting.
Here are just my thoughts on what UST needs to work on.
For all their firepower, they can’t seen to jumpstart that offense because their service has been poor. In four games so far, they are the fourth worst in service faults with 29! And they have only served up 14 aces; sixth best in the league.
As it is, UST is in the middle of the pack when it comes to setting – fifth. And this underscores any team’s need for a top-notch setter.
This is the first year where Alex Cabanos has become the starter while Sarah Verutiao needs more big game experience (as she comes from a small school). They’ll both get better since there are gaining big game experience. It is also unfortunate it has to come when teams play for keeps.
But in my opinion, head coach Odjie Mamon should commit to one – and I’d say for now, it’s Cabanos to lead them. Having them come in and out hurts their confidence. And it was obvious last season that Alex would be their number one setter for Season 77. Maybe then she should have been used a little more instead of looking to garner that valuable bit of experience.
Receiving. This is where your defense starts and determines your attack. Right now, the Lady Tigresses are ranked sixth in the UAAP. And they are also fifth in digs.
But there’s the upside… outside Ateneo and La Salle, it’s a wide open race for the other two Final Four slots. And they have plenty of time to work and improve on their game.
As it is, they lost to the top three teams – La Salle, Ateneo, and UP. They have three more matches all against struggling FEU and NU and Adamson that is still looking to find its rhythm. When they work out the kinks, they’ll be dangerous – and watch out for Laure -- because they’ve got the firepower to match anyone.