The DLSU Lady Spikers ended the second half of the UAAP Season 80 Volleyball Tournament with a sweep as they overwhelmed their archrivals, the ADMU Lady Eagles in straight sets, 26-24, 25-17, 25-19, earlier today at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Kianna Dy bannered for the Green-and-White, as she led the team to victory with 13 points on 12 attacks. Accompanying her was Michelle Cobb, who not only had 24 excellent sets, but also garnered seven points from four blocks and three service aces to seal the win for La Salle. On the other side of the court, Kat Tolentino provided the Lady Eagles with 15 points on 11 attacks, and three service aces in the losing effort.
Despite being assured of the top spot heading into the playoffs, Cobb stated that this game was important. “Fight for pride, as usual, and this game will give us the boost and confidence for the semis,” she said.
With the win, DLSU will remain as the number one seed in the tournament and will have a twice-to-beat advantage, as itfinished with a 12-2 win-loss record.
An action-packed start
A thrilling first set was what opened the game between the two archrivals as both teams did not give easy points. At the beginning, La Salle and Ateneo just traded points, with the Green-and-White leading at the first and second technical time-out, 8-6, 16-13, respectively. Nonetheless, the Lady Eagles were able to cut the deficit and come to a deadlock at 17-17 with the help of Tolentino and Deanna Wong.
The latter half of the first set was tight as Jhoanna Maraguinot began to relentlessly attack the Lady Spikers. Despite the Lasallians going into match point at 24-20, ADMU went on a 4-0 run with Maraguinot in the lead. It was only a quick attack from Majoy Baron that ended the set and gave DLSU its first set win, 26-24.
The momentum of the Lady Spikers carried over to the second set as they immediately went on an 11-2 run, which gave them a strong start. It was only after Tolentino scored that the Lady Eagles woke up and began to force La Salle to commit errors. The Blue-and-White went on a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to six, 15-9.
Tin Tiamzon and Norielle Ipac proved to be important players in the second set as they persistently scored crucial points for DLSU. With the Lady Spikers continuing to force Ateneo to commit consecutive errors and a kill block from Cobb, DLSU easily won the second set at 25-17.
It was ADMU who began the third set strong as Tolentino took advantage of the miscommunication and oversight that plagued the Green-and-White early on. With Wong’s help, the Blue-and-White led the game at the first technical timeout with La Salle just a point away, 8-7.
In spite of that, with the continuous service errors and net violations of the Lady Eagles, it was easy for the defending champions to get the lead back as Desiree Cheng and Dy did not give Ateneo any room to breathe with back-to-back crosscourt attacks. In addition, Ipac and Tiamzon once more proved their worth as they led the 5-0 run to give La Salle a four point lead, 19-15.
Coach Tai Bundit seemed desperate at the latter half of the third set as he began to place players from the deep end of the bench inside the court to bring about a change in the momentum. One of the this players was Candice Gequillana who stopped the Lady Spikers at match point with an offensive attack. Nevertheless, with a spike down the line coming from Cheng, DLSU won the third set and consequently the match in straight sets, 25-19.
The Lady Spikers relentlessly attacked their archrivals on both the offensive and defensive ends as the defending champions scored nine blocks compared to the seven of Ateneo, and 12 more attacks from the Green-and-White, 42-30. Dy stated that “siguro kasi we’re treating every game like it’s our last, so syempre all out na kami.” She also added that coach Ramil de Jesus makes sure that they keep in mind that “it’s now or never every game. And the next game, syempre yun ang crucial so kailangan double time.”
With the win, La Salle made sure that its archrivals would not get the chance to fight for the twice-to-beat incentive. At the same time, DLSU remains in the top spot of the Final Four with the Lady Tamaraws, who will now also benefit from the twice-to-beat advantage, behind them.
The Lady Spikers will have their first game of the playoffs against the number four seed in the tournament, the NU Lady Bulldogs, on Sunday, April 22.
DLSU (3) – Dy 13, Cheng 12, Tiamzon 11, Baron 9, Cobb 7, Ipac 4, Ogunsanya 0, Macandili 0
ADMU (0) – Tolentino 15, Madayag 8, Samonte 6, Maraguinot 6, Wong 5, De Leon 3, Gequillana 1, Abella 0, Eleazar 0, Ravena 0, Gaston 0