The DLSU Lady Spikers stamped their class as the best team in Season 79 after overcoming the ADMU Lady Eagles in five thrilling sets, 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10, earlier today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, DLSU wins its 10th UAAP Volleyball crown under head coach Ramil De Jesus, and their second consecutive title after surrendering the previous two to the Lady Eagles.
Desiree Cheng, who sat out Season 78 with a knee injury, took home Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) honors after finishing with 12 points, 12 excellent digs, and 13 excellent receptions.
Lady Eagles snatch opening set
Tin Tiamzon scored the first point of the game from through an off speed attack to give DLSU a quick 1-0 lead, but attacks from Michelle Morente, Kat Tolentino, and Bea De Leon allowed ADMU to take an 8-4 lead heading into the first TTO (technical timeout) of the first set.
DLSU’s floor defense was shaky as Morente and Jho Maraguinot found the openings in the middle of the defense, putting up a 14-9 lead in the first set. ADMU had answers for La Salle’s attacks and were able to properly receive the first balls thrown at them by the Lady Spikers. However, the Lady Spikers would score five unanswered points to pull within one point, 16-15, heading into the first set’s second TTO.
La Salle was unable to snatch the lead as Morente and the Lady Eagles would go off the block and capitalize on the Lady Spikers’ errors and shaky floor defense. A Maraguinot cross court kill ended the first set in favor of ADMU, 25-19.
Lady Spikers dominate second set
It was La Salle’s turn to capitalize off the Lady Eagles’ errors as four ADMU errors helped them gain a 6-2 lead at the start of the second set. The Lady Spikers would continue to attack the Blue-and-White defense, taking a 13-3 lead off a Baron ace.
ADMU would rally back by scoring three straight points, but DLSU would respond with three consecutive points of their own to take a 16-6 lead heading into the second TTO of the second set. La Salle would continue to maintain their sizable margin, extending their lead to 11 points, 22-11, of another Lady Eagle error. The Lady Eagles would try to crawl back into the set but Kim Dy went off the block to seal the second set for the Lady Spikers, 25-14.
Lady Eagles win third set
DLSU looked to take control early in the third set when it raced to a 5-4 lead behind three points from league MVP Majoy Baron. Tolentino helped give ADMU the lead at 7-6, but a Cheng attack and a Dy service ace gave DLSU an 8-7 lead heading into the third set’s first TTO.
ADMU would respond by taking a 12-10 lead over DLSU off aces from De Leon and attacks from Maraguinot. La Salle would try to inch closer to the Lady Eagles but aces from Morente and Kim Gequillana gave ADMU a 20-16 lead and forced De Jesus to call a timeout.
The Lady Spikers would insert Michelle Cobb into the lineup for Dy. Kim Fajardo would score on two occasions to try to ignite a DLSU rally but an attack from Ana Gopico helped ADMU take the third set, 25-18.
Neither team could create a lead in the opening moments of the fourth set, but DLSU had the lead heading into the fourth set’s first TTO, 8-7, off a Cheng ace.
ADMU and DLSU would continue to remain close with one another but two attacks from Cheng gave the Lady Spikers a 16-13 lead heading into the fourth set’s second TTO. The Lady Spikers remained in control after a Tiamzon tip that gave La Salle a 21-16 lead over ADMU, forcing Bundit to call a timeout.
The Lady Eagles’ efforts went for naught as Dy and Tiamzon handed La Salle the fourth set, 25-18.
La Salle takes the fifth set and the title
The Lady Spiker would do no wrong in the fifth and final set as they raced to a 7-2 lead. Even if their timing was off in certain sets, Dy, Cheng, and Baron continued to find the holes in the ADMU defense.
Staring at a sizable margin, the Lady Eagles got as close at two points, 10-8, but Cheng, Tiamzon, and Baron continued to push DLSU ahead. In the end an ADMU error sealed the match and handed DLSU its 10th UAAP Volleyball crown.
DLSU was more controlled in terms of managing errors, as it finished with 21 as compared to the 33 of ADMU. The Lady Eagles had 55 excellent sets, 53 of which came from Jia Morado. La Salle had 10 fewer excellent sets at 45, but had 54 excellent digs to the Blue-and-White’s 53.
Prior to Game 2, three Lady Spikers were adjudged for their exemplary performance in the elimination round. Baron was named this season’s MVP, while the graduating Fajardo and libero Dawn Macandili took home awards as well.
Fajardo was named the Best Setter and Best Server, while Macandili was the Best Receiver.
DLSU 102 (3)- Dy 19, Tiamzon 16, Cheng 12, Baron 10, Ogunsanya 6, Fajardo 6
ADMU 92 (2)- Morente 16, De Leon 14, Maraguinot 14, Tolentino 10, Gopico 9, Morado 6, Gequillana 2