Xyza Gula rescues UST Tigresses from near loss

UST Golden Tigresses UAAP volleyball Xyza Gula


UST Golden Tigresses UAAP volleyball Xyza Gula

UST Golden Tigresses celebrate during a victory over FEU Lady Tamaraws in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.–MARLO CUETO/

University of Santo Tomas (UST) found its back against the wall after being two sets down and still trailing in the make-or-break third. And coach Kung Fu Reyes knew he needed a spark from the bench.He put his hopes on sophomore hitter Xyza Gula, a roll of the dice considering she would be coming in cold.

The gamble paid off, big.

“I wasn’t thinking about it back then,” Gula told the Inquirer in Filipino when asked if she expected to have a huge impact on the result of the game. “I was just enjoying the game.

“I am always like that and just play for each point. Like what others say, we need to be one-point warriors so we fought for every point.”

SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball first round

UST’s hard fought come-from-behind victory against Far Eastern University on Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena hiked the Golden Tigresses’ stunning start to the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament to four straight wins.

It was also a follow-up performance after bringing the defending champions La Salle to its knees in another thrilling five-set victory.

Xyza Gula UAAP volleyball UST Tigresses

UST Tigresses’ Xyza Gula.–MARLO CUETO/

That match served as motivation for the 5-foot-4 outside hitter where she committed a service error just as UST was mounting a comeback. And Gula redeemed herself in that win over the Lady Tamaraws after nailing the last four points to cap the marathon match.

“I didn’t want our win in the third and fourth set to be a waste by losing in the fifth set. We really battled this one out,” Gula, who contributed 13 points on 12 attacks and an ace, said. “It was a hard-fought win.”

READ: UST’s ‘discipline, determination’ key to unbeaten start in UAAP volleyball

Ignite the fire

Gula was fielded in lieu of starter Jonna Perdido, who did not have the same game she had when facing the Lady Spikers, in the third frame, Reyes knew he could trust the diminutive hitter to ignite the fire for the Tigresses.

“We know that every person in our lineup is ready, we were just waiting for the right time and they contributed big time,” Reyes said also in Filipino. “The mentality that we are instilling in them (Tigresses) is no matter who the opponent is, they should fight their hearts out.”

“Every game, every point that we work for is a possibility for us to win so our discipline and determination and continuous reminders to be deliberate during attacking [helped us] get each point, every set until we get the game,” he added.

And if the Tigresses stay true to that mentality like how Gula turned things around for UST, they can continue knocking down whoever stands on their path.

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“We got each other’s backs so if someone messes up, we are here to pick them up,” Gula said. “I am still here for my team. I wouldn’t just think about myself but what’s better for the team.” INQ


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