University of Santo Tomas’ Sisi Rondina and Babylove Barbon made history in the UAAP Season 81 beach volleyball championship by winning a third consecutive title Sunday at Sands SM By The Bay.
The Tigresses pulled off a dominant 21-7, 21-16 win over De La Salle’s Michelle Morente and Tin Tiamzon to complete another perfect season.
Tipped to win the championship before the start of the tournament, UST has actually won 19 consecutive matches – a new league mark – dating back from the Season 79 Finals.
The mighty Tigresses overcame a tough second set to prevail over the Lady Spikers in Game 1, 21-12, 21-19, earlier in the day.
Setting the tone for a double championship, UST reclaimed the men’s throne, as Krung Arbasto and Jaron Requinton were able to withstand a gallant stand by Far Eastern University’s Jude Garcia and Richard Solis in Game 2 to carve out a 21-13, 22-24, 15-10 win.
The Growling Tigers halted the Tamaraws’ perfect run with a 21-14, 21-16 victory in the Finals opener.
For Rondina, height does not matter for the Compostela, Cebu native in helping the school to become the first women’s beach volleyball team to complete a three-peat.
“For you to prove yourself na kaya mo, why not?,” said Rondina, who won her fourth season MVP award. “Nag-start ako ng first year parang alam ko sa sarili ko na wala pang napapatunayan kasi ganito lang, maliit lang ako. Pero the time na nananalo kami, puwede pala. Bonus na itong MVP. Ang goal ko lang talaga manalo at makapagbigay para sa UST.”
Arbasto dedicated the title conquest to his former partner KR Guzman, who failed to win on his final year after the Tigers lost to the Bulldogs in last season’s championship.
“Wala akong iniisip na maibawi ang championship para kay KR. Ang saya ko lang kasi graduating ako at lalabas ako ng UST na naibalik ang korona para sa kanila,” said Arbasto.
The Tigers were at championship point in the second frame but Requinton’s rookie jitters came into play.
With Requinton already calmed down, UST produced a dominant third set performance.
The Tigers’ youth movement was displayed all season-long, with Barbon and Requinton won the Rookie of the Year awards in their respective divisions.
UST has now tied National University for the most number of titles with four.