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UAAP: Inspired by doubters, UST Tigresses end finals drought


Detdet Pepito UST Tigresses UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball Finals

UST libero and captain Detdet Pepito during the Tigresses’ UAAP Final Four win over the La Salle Lady Spikers.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The UST Tigresses found themselves surrounded by doubts and uncertainties after losing their key cogs led by star spiker Eya Laure.

The challenges, however, didn’t stop the young Tigresses from pulling off the biggest surprise from winning their first eight games of the season to dethroning La Salle in the Final Four with a 25-20, 16-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-7, to end a five-year UAAP Finals drought on Sunday in front of 19,505 fans at Mall of Asia Arena.

Libero and captain Detdet Pepito, who has emerged as the team’s heart and soul, urged her young teammates to turn those doubts into motivation.

READ: UST Tigresses dethrone La Salle, return to UAAP volleyball Finals

“Una sa lahat, thank you sa mga bashers kasi ginawa talaga namin silang inspirasyon. Unang-unang game pa lang, alam naming maraming, pano ba, ayun kumukutya na ‘ay wala to’,” said Pepito, who had 18 digs and 16 excellent receptions. “Napatunayan namin nung unang game, nakita namin kung ano yung kapasidad  ng team namin and yun, trinabaho lang po talaga namin and gusto ko lang din magpasalamat sa lahat ng naniniwala, manalo, matalo, thank you po, and kay Lord.”

 “Sobrang honored talaga ako na maging captain ball nang ganitong promising team. So, nagpapasalamat ako sa teammates ko kasi talagang trinabaho namin every point, every day, every training,” she added.

Detdet Pepito UST Tigresses UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball Final Four

UST Tigresses’ Detdet Pepito.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

In Laure’s final season last year, UST was eliminated in the semifinals by eventual champion La Salle, which swept National University in the title round.

Pepito hopes that bringing UST back to the finals would make their seniors proud as they try to end the school’s 14-year wait for a championship when they face the winner of the FEU-NU game next week in a best-of-three finals series.

READ: UAAP: Pepito believes now is UST’s best chance to win title

“Unbelievable po yung feeling kasi parang ako, lalo ako, parang nasanay kasi ako na lagi kong ka-teammate si ate Eya, syempre nandun talaga yung una, napangdududa na parang pano na yung team ganyan tapos parang biglang napili akong captain ball parang ‘sure ka coach?’ nung napili ba ako parang, ewan ko ba. pero ayun, dinedecate din po namin sa mga seniors ko na yun naibawi namin kayo ates,” she said.

Pepito believes UST, composed of super rookie Angge Poyos, setter Cassie Carballo, wing spikers Jonna Perdido and Reg Jurado as well as middle blockers Em Banagua and Bianca Plaza, has what it takes to win it all this year after showing their character against La Salle and its decorated mentor Ramil De Jesus.

 “Actually nung fourth set palang nireready na namin yung sarili namin sa fifth set kasi sabi ko nga ginusto natin to, so yakapin na natin to. Yun nga, yung pressure na naramdaman namin talaga first set palang, magandang pressure, yun nga sinasabi na  privilege talaga yung pressure so. Ayun, nakatulong siya samin para i-push namin yung limitation namin,” Pepito said.



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