UST extends beach volleyball reign

Photo courtesy of UAAP

University of Santo Tomas conquered National University to complete another golden double in the UAAP beach volleyball tournament at Sands SM By The Bay on Tuesday.

Gen Eslapor and Babylove Barbon defeated first-time finalists Honey Grace Cordero and Kly Orillaneda, 21-15, 21-16, to give the Tigresses a five-peat.

Jaron Requinton and Rancel Varga reasserted their dominance of James Buytrago and Pol Salvador, 21-16, 21-14, to power the Growling Tigers to a fourth consecutive title.

The league’s most successful program in the sport, UST secured its eighth women’s crown and hiked its men’s championship total to seven.

“Sobrang saya and thankful po kami sa mga coaches (Paul Jan Doloiras and Romnick Rico) po namin kasi sila ang nag-hubog ng talento namin. Kaya yung success po, sa kanila po talaga mapupunta. Sa mga coaches po namin,” said Requinton, who took the season MVP award.

“Kasi kung hindi dahil sa kanila, sa mahihirap na training na ginawa sa amin, hindi naman kami aabot sa championship at tsaka hindi namin makukuha ang five-peat at four-peat sa beach volleyball,” the national team mainstay added.

Requinton was also delighted to help the Growling Tigers win two titles in a span of a year, as they also defeated the Bulldogs in the Season 84 Finals last summer.

“Hindi ako makapaniwala na six months po yung agwat. Nakakapagod literal kasi sa national team, defender po ako pero pagdating sa UAAP blocker po ako. Malaking adjustment ang ginawa ko sa akin. Sobrang hindi ako makapaniwala yung mga nangyayari po kanina sa loob ng court para po sa akin,” he added.

Barbon, who captured her second straight MVP, was very happy to carry on the Tigresses’ winning legacy, having won 37 consecutive matches dating back from 2016.

“Kasi yung goal namin is makuha yung championship and iyon po ang nagawa namin ngayon. Pinagtrabahuan namin ng ilang taon at ito ang bunga ng paghihirap namin,” said Barbon.

The women’s competition was not played in Season 84, and Barbon felt that it was worth the wait for UST to continue the dynasty that Sisi Rondina started.

“Sobrang saya po kahit nag-pandemic. Nagawan pa rin namin ng paraan na makapag-training kami and nagawan ng paraan na makuha po yung goal namin, which is yung championship,” said Barbon.

UST went undefeated in nine women’s and men’s matches.

University of the Philippines returned to the women’s podium, as Euri Eslapor, Gen’s younger sister, and Alyssa Bertolano rebounded from a second set loss to repulse La Salle’s Justine Jazareno and Jolina dela Cruz, 21-18, 12-21, 15-6.

Cordero, a Silay City native, took the Rookie of the Year honors.

Ateneo achieved its best finish since winning the men’s crown in 2015 as Jian Salarzon and Amil Pacinio turned back Far Eastern University’s Vincent Nadera and Jelord Talisayan, 24-22, 21-16, to secure the bronze medal.

Bacolod City pride Salarzon was named the Rookie of the Year.

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