MANILA, Philippines — Xyza Gula brought out the fight in University of Santo Tomas in the team’s runner-up finish to powerhouse National University in the Shakey’s Super League (SSL) Pre-Season Championship on Saturday evening at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Gula powered the Tigresses’ tough stand, pushing the Lady Bulldogs to their limits before Bella Belen took over in the fourth and put on the finishing touches to complete another perfect title run, 17-25, 25-15, 20-25, 20-25 in Game 2.
The high-flying spiker, who led UST with 18 points including three aces, said she was determined to show her lethal attacking form, which she first showcased in the first Super League season last year.
“I wanted to bring back my game. Because in this league, I played off [in our previous games]. I waited for this moment to show my game,” she said in Filipino.
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Despite settling for silver in their first preseason finals in four years, Gula remained proud of UST after becoming the only team in this tournament to deal NU set losses.
“We’re proud because it’s like we faced an international team. Our team is still rebuilding but we gave our best and showed we’re not just a short UST team. We stood tall and showed what we can do by fighting until the end,” said Gula.
Beginning life without Eya Laure, Imee Hernandez, and Milena Alessandrini, Gula has emerged as one of UST’s main options along with Regina Jurado and rookie Angeline Poyos, who won Best Outside Hitter awards in the last two SSL tournaments this year.
From pushing NU to its limits, Gula vows to be stronger for UST, heading to the UAAP Season 86 next year.
Siguro po mas titibayan pa po namin sa training and sa puso po kasi dun po talaga kami magtatalunan, hindi po sa skills, kundi po sa laban po ng puso namin,” she said.