With a grim tone of regret, she adds: “Pag titignan mo inalagaan nila ‘yung pangalan ng UST. Ngayon itong batch na ito, ‘yung mga simpleng bagay katulad ng ganito hindi man lang namin mai-angat sa kung saan nila nadala dati.” In UST’s defense, its 4-game losing streak happened in the absence of its prized outside hitters.And even though head coach Kung Fu Reyes had confidence in the likes of Carla Sandoval, Jem Gutierrez and Dimdim Pacres, the trio were all too jittery and inexperienced to match the output that Laure and Rondina could have provided.On playing through despite a depleted lineup, Meneses shares: “Ang hirap eh. Puro bago pa sila kaya ang hirap pa nila dalhin.” While the middle blocker is in pain after the loss, she acknowledges that the long-time supporters of the team are hurt as well.Sa ngayon ilan lang kaming matanda diyan sa team na naka-lineup. Through the debacle, she asks for one thing: understanding.“Intindihin na lang muna kami ngayon kasi talagang kulang kami sa players.Wala kaming go-to na spiker na talagang mapupuntahan ng bola pag gipitan,” she said.“Ang gitna mabibigyan lang ‘yan pag perfect ang receive eh.” Now that the team has been stripped off of all of its glory, Meneses says she and her teammates are headed back to the drawing boards, ready to sweat it out in training in preparation for the real war that is Season 79.Though they still have Ateneo on their plate, the Tigresses, after 13 years of a rich winning tradition, officially bowed out of semis contention after getting overwhelmed by San Sebastian in 4 sets.
“Sa part ko sobrang sakit kasi sa paglalaro ko din sa V-League, first time ko maranasan na malaglag kami sa Final Four,” said veteran Ria Meneses after her 11-point effort failed to be enough of a backstop for Eya Laure’s 16 markers.
“Ang sakit lang din kasi kahit ano’ng pilit ko na gawin ‘yung best ko wala talaga.
Siguro hindi din talaga para sa amin pa,” she added.
The heartbreaking early exit came 4 months after UST continued its struggle in Season 78 where it also missed the Final Four bus, stretching its post-season drought to 4 consecutive years.
UST’s sixth and last reign in the V-League happened in 2010 when the legendary Aiza Maizo powered the Tigresses past a Sue Roces-bannered San Sebastian in the thrilling finale.