It seems as if the nightmare of the UAAP Season 76 Women’s Volleyball finals still chases after the DLSU Lady Spikers. The Taft-based Lady Spikers succumed to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in a five-set thriller, 25-22, 26-28, 20-25, 26-24, 15-7, in the 2014 Philippine National Games (PNG) finals held last May 23 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. With PAF’s victory, they claimed their second consecutive Women’s Division championship of the said tournament while the Lady Spikers finished as the runner-up.
Similar to their UAAP stint last season, the Lady Spikers successfully swept the elimination round of the PNG without dropping a single set. Concluding the eliminations with a 5-0 win-loss record, they immediately got the first seat to the finals, but as they stepped into the finals, they were unable to clinch the championship.
Their opening game against Rizal Technological University appeared like a piece of cake as they defeated their opponents in dominant fashion, 25-14, 25-14, 25-14. It was later on followed by a second straight win against Cebu, 25-14, 25-13, 25-20.
The Taft-based squad went against PAF for their third game of the tournament. Despite PAF being a much veteran squad than La Salle in the PNG, the former managed to escape their foes in straight sets, 25-22, 25-18, 25-21.
The Lady Spikers remained undefeated after they walloped Emilio Aguinaldo College, 25-8, 25-13, 25-9. They faced last the UP Lady Maroons which was an eventual victory, 25-21, 25-15, 25-14. With La Salle’s triumph over the Lady Maroons, they qualified for the finals wherein they faced PAF.
In the finals, PAF prevailed over the Lady Spikers in the first set, 25-21. However, it wasn’t easy for the girls in Green to redeem themselves in the second set as they have to deal with their opponents the hard way. They escaped the feisty PAF squad, 26-28.
In the third set, both teams played another tight match but in the end, the set went in favor of the Lady Spikers, 20-25. Leading two sets to one, La Salle, showed dominance in the fourth set as they took an early lead ahead of PAF. However, PAF came in strong in the middle of the set and managed to keep their composure in the latter plays that tied the match at 24-all. La Salle could have almost won the championship but due to crucial errors, PAF was able to push for a fifth and deciding set.
PNG proved to be a different ground for the Lady Spikers as they collapsed early in the fifth set. They couldn’t set the right rhythm to bounce back and keep their score near PAF. They were nailed at seven and PAF pushed forward to claim the set and defend their title, 15-7.
Even though the Lady Spikers fell short in the finals after a perfect eliminations run, the volleybelles from Taft were able to grab three individual awards. Kim Fajardo was named as the Best Setter while the Best Blocker award was given to Mika Reyes. Ara Galang, who was the team captain of the Lady Spikers for the tournament, was hailed as the Best Attacker. Meanwhile, the Best Receiver and the Best Setter were awarded to Angeli Tabaquero and Rhea Dimaculangan respectively. Ran-ran Abdilla of PAF was named as the Most Valuable Player.