Is It The End Of An Empire?

After losing Game 1 of the best-of-three series against the Ateneo Lady Eagles last Tuesday, the Tigresses of University of Santo Tomas are once again in danger of ending one of the most celebrated streaks in Philippine Volleyball; their V-league Finals appearance.

Since the inception of the Shakey’s V-league, UST has managed to either be the bridesmaids or, most of the time, win the tournament. Now on its 10th season, the España-based squad looks polished to once again battle it out to the end. With homegrown talents Aiza Maizo and Rhea Dimaculangan as guest players, the spectators saw the dominance they seem to have lost last UAAP.

So what exactly went wrong?

“They were really good with their adjustments. After losing the first set, they changed their rotation and pitted the veteran Jeng Bualee against the very young Jessey De Leon. It was a mismatch.” said Head Coach Odjie Mamon.

In Assistant Coach Vilet Ponce De Leon’s opinion, their shaky reception was the final nail in the coffin. According to her “With Ateneo having a feast with their great serves, we actually helped them achieve their goal of winning with our bad reception. Sipag ng kalaban plus katamaran namin, that spelled the difference.”

Now with pressure weighing down on them, the rabid UST fans are one in asking “Is it really the end of the long V-league streak?”

“Nakita naman natin yung kalibre nung apat na teams. I would like to believe that we are at par with them when it comes to the skills. What we need now is mental toughness from the girls. If they can master that, then it’s not yet over. We could still win this.” said Mamon.

Coach Vilet, on the other hand quipped “Right from the beginning, our focus was really to improve our current roster for Season 76. And I think we already achieved that. Pero sana andun ulet. Sana makabalik because the girls are really aching to be in the Finals.”

On my end, watching the girls train the day before Game 2, I saw something change. There was fire in their eyes. There was focus. And there was the will to fight and hunger to win.

Wing spiker Carmela Tunay agrees “I’ll do this for my idol Nang Aiza Maizo. Yung sakripisyo pa lang niya na bumalik dito at iwan yung family niya, it really means a lot to me. I can see how painful it is for her to see the people who used to adore her are now cheering for another team. I want us to win para maibalik namin yung tiwala ng mga tao. Na kami pa rin ang UST team na minahal nila. Nadapa lang kami pero babangon at babangon kami. Lalaban kami.”

With everything at stake, we can expect the girls to go all out to force a do-or-die game on Sunday. It seems almost impossible but that is exactly the reason why we fell in love with them. They are full of ups and downs. Their campaigns are always full of drama. This team is anything but boring. And they are more than ready to take us on another roller coaster ride wherein we will scream, shout, be happy and get scared all at the same time.

And to close my interview with him, Coach Odji very confidently adds “Oo. Babalik tayo sa Ultra sa Sunday for Game 3.”

I don’t know if he’s just taunting the opponent, teasing the fans or he’s actually that sure of his chances on today’s game but I have a feeling this series won’t end here. I guess as a fan, that’s just how I am wired. To refuse to believe that my team will lose. THE EMPIRE DOES NOT END HERE! And if I’m wrong, I only have two things to say. One, it is not the first time. And two, I am one with the millions of fans who believed in them all the way.

Let’s do this! GO USTe!!! 

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13 responses to “Is It The End Of An Empire?

  1. first time na hindi sila umabot sa finals ng vleague ngayon 😦 pero kahit ganun kayo pa rin Favorite ko, hindi ako nannunuod ng pag hindi kayo ang may laban. Promise kahit anong mangyari kayo lang favorite ko.

  2. Gusto ko ang UST din pero i will rely on LAdy Eagles this time. Nasa Eagles na ang momentum If UST will win this time, for sure its going to be one hell of a battle. Good luck to both teams. Ang importante naman dyan, manalo – matalo, sumikat na ang volleyball at ang tunay na winner ay ang mga fans 😉

  3. I really adore the fighting spirit of UST kahit very formidable ang line-up ng Ateneo. I became a fan of Ateneo because of Valdez pero dati UST supporter ako nung time ni Maizo and Tabaquero. Kung nasa UST pa rin siguro si Valdez baka nag-go-go-USTE pa rin ako ngayon. But looking at the match-up, malaki talaga chance ng Ateneo manalo hindi sa dahil sa bias ako. Pero si Coach Odjie na rin nagsabing itapat ba naman si Bualee kay De Leon. Pero who knows. Mas exciting ang games pag mas mahaba. Hehe. Good luck to both teams.

  4. Go UST LADY TIGRESSES! Go FTW! 😀 Manalo o Matalo. Nandito parin kaming mga Tigresses Fans nio. #WELOVEUSTLADYTIGRESSE

  5. Reblogged this on leeeeestentotheotherside and commented:
    I might say the same thing for the NU Lady Bulldogs as they experience their first game loss this Shakey’s VLeague Season.
    As an uprising team of the future, so they speak, losing is just a part of the lessons they need to learn and be prepared for. Maturity in the game and mental strength is what they lack of, and need to heighten up more to be the team they wanted to be (opinion). As a solid and loyal supporter of this team, in whereas I have seen as they made a royal comeback after their rebuilding days, to see what they have become and what will they become in the future is an honor and great pleasure.
    It’s not about winning, just like what they said, it’s about losing but still getting up to fight. It’s not about winning, it’s about losing but never quitting.
    Pray. Ask and you shall receive.
    Go Bulldogs! Go Nacionalian!
    #GoForTheFinals

  6. i am a big fan of UST Tigresses… go USTe kya nyo yn bxta – lgi nyong tndAan na u play 4 w\ joy n ur heart @ happy n ur eyes… we love u… mtlo – mnlo cute p rn kyo’ yeheyyyy…

  7. I could say, before I was not much of a fan of UAAP nor V-League. I sometimes find watching it on TV when I switch channels but not really appreciating it. It caught my interest when my niece, Gi Reyes started playing in Colegio de San Agustin in Makati since elementary. I saw the passion and intensity in her, she knows she was destined to play. I will always tell my husband to watch and support her team whenever they have a game with our eldest son, Leyton in tow. Then came highschool, Gi became taller, stronger and famous ( ha ha ha). She was recruited in for The RP Team, played for NCR etc etc. Alas college! She chose to be with UST, I even questioned that decision because I have seen DLSU and Ateneo, but in the end it was always what she wanted that matters. I started researching about the WVT of UST, watching on You Tube and I said to myself wow! This team has great talents. Well reality bites that each talent has to go and graduate and start to welcome new recruits. In season 74 I was almost in their every match cheering, shouting, cursing. At the end of every game, it was either we will go home sad and disappointed or happy and contented. When I watch their matches it was always Gi that I cheered on, because there she was on the court playing, smiling showing off her dimples ( peace, Gi!) and on TV! But you see, the team goes with her and she belongs to the team. I started to became a fan of UST-WVT. Season 75 was well I wished we could have all skipped and it was that season that Gi’s playing time gradually decreased as if she did not exist, just beacuse of a jersey number?? I’m pissed?I’m biased? It’s true but hey she’s my sister’s daughter!! Seen so much that season that really broke my heart as they totally slipped away from the finals and probably the coach would have done some serious decision making that time. Now comes the V-League, now in the semis and a loss at Game 1 for obvious reasons. Today in Game 2, I wish for the team is to act as a Team! Sometimes you have to wonder for yourselves what went wrong, support each other, be in each other’s back, get that spark on! Execute your plays! Get your feet moving!! Be strong!! Make it happen! We want to believe that it is not an end of an empire and will not be in the coming years.

  8. Love this interview. though im such a huge fan of the eagles but no one can change the fact that aiza maizo is one of the reason why philippine volleyball achieved this popularity right now. Valdez and the rest of the tigresses, good luck for ur game latur!! #OBF #GoUSTE

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