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Xyza Gula sparks UST comeback for fourth straight win


Xyza Gula–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Xyza Gula–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Call it a test of character for University of Santo Tomas, and call it Xyza Gula’s coming out party.

Coming off the bench at the height of the Golden Tigresses’ struggles against Far Eastern University (FEU) on Sunday night, the diminutive Gula went on to hammer the Lady Tamaraws’ defense that stood like a wall in the first two sets as Santo Tomas notched a fourth straight win in Season 86 of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, a 22-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-7 escape act.

A good-sized Mall of Asia Arena crowd made up mostly of the Santo Tomas faithful saw Gula in her breakout game, as she finished with 13 points made up of 12 kills and an ace. She nailed the final two points that ignited a wild celebration in the gallery.

“I saw in the first and second sets that the team lost the fun in playing,” Gula said in Filipino. “I just came in and put that back in the team.”

It was the second straight five-set thriller that Santo Tomas survived as the Tigresses have now claimed victories over the toughest teams in the tournament, counting the champion of the last two seasons in National U and La Salle.

“It was a very tough game,” Santo Tomas coach Kung Fu Reyes said, also in Filipino. “Our rivalry with FEU has always been there and we have high respect for them. That’s why we prepared very hard for this game.”

The Tigresses still carved out the win despite finishing with 40 errors compared to the 16 of Far Eastern.

Barbie Jamili was also another one who came out of the shadows of her team’s stars after finally getting the opportunity to show what she is made of. And from the looks of it, she will be a vital cog in Adamson’s campaign.

‘I was nervous’

“I was nervous, of course, because it’s my first time and being inside the court was overwhelming so I needed to adjust,” the outside hitter told the Inquirer in Filipino after helping Adamson to a 25-19, 25-19, 26-28, 29-27 victory against University of the East (UE) earlier.

But there was no reason to be worried, because she did just fine. Awesome, actually.

The debuting Jamili poured in 20 points built on 18 attacks and two blocks while lacing that with 15 excellent digs to help lift Adamson to an even 2-2 record.

“I needed to be patient with myself because the time will eventually come for me to play a bigger role,” she said.

Adamson also tried a different approach in battling UE by deciding to shake up and limit the playing minutes of its usual starters.

Jamili had a brief stint with FEU, suiting up for the Lady Tamaraws in preseason tournaments. She transferred to Adamson before the Season 85 volleyball season started.


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And fresh from finishing her year of residency, things are looking good for the 20-year-old, especially after a strong maiden outing against the Casiey Dongallo-led UE crew that is dealing with internal problems of their own. INQ

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