“Never underestimate the heart of a champion.” These were the immortal words uttered by Houston Rockets Head Coach Rudy Tomjanovich when his team faced stiff adversity on their ascent to the championship.

The DLSU Lady Spikers, seeking their seventh win in as many games against rival UST Tigresses, found themselves in a similar predicament when Head Coach Ramil De Jesus said the same words during a much-needed time-out.

The Lady Spikers mounted a furious comeback and ultimately outclassed their rivals in a full-extended 20-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-19, 17-15 encounter last January 8 at the Fil-Oil Arena in San Juan.

The Lady Spikers improved to an unscathed record of 7-0, enabling them to sweep the first round of eliminations of the UAAP Season 74 Women’s Volleyball Tournament. Dating from the previous volleyball tournament last season, the defending champions have amassed 18 straight wins.

Season’s leading Best Spiker Abigail Maraño fronted the charge once more for the Taft-based Spikers with 18 points, while team captain Cha Cruz mounted the Lady Spikers’ comeback with 17 points; utility spiker Michelle Gumabao added 16 points.

The game against their España-based rivals, however, did not yield straight sets.

Coming from behind

The Green-and-White squad was down two sets to one. During the fourth, they bounced back to snatch the set 25-19, forcing the game to go into a fifth and deciding set.

The Ladies in Green, however, saw themselves behind, 1-7, at the start of the fifth set when Head Coach De Jesus called for that timeout. And behind the efforts of team captain Cruz, they turned the game around, eventually tying the count at 13 apiece. The Tigresses grabbed the first match point, but the Lady Spikers made a 4-1 run to finish the game and eke out the seventh ‘W’ for the season.

Starting out slow

Despite having the initial lead, the Lady Spikers lost footing when the Tigresses launched a 5-0 run to turn a 14-18 deficit into a 20-19 lead, which gave them the opening set.

Another key factor that compounded the woes of the Green-and-White squad was their unforced errors. 44 of the 106 points, or 42 percent of UST’s points came from the Lady Spikers’ unforced errors, which was relatively huge compared to the 33 percent figure  for the Tigresses.

“At first nagpabaya kami, (We were negligent during the early stages),” said Lady Spiker Michelle Gumabao. The Green-and-White volleybelles then bounced back and found themselves tied with one set apiece after snatching the second frame. The Tigresses, however grabbed the vital third set through a series of attacks and unforced errors the Lady Spikers made.

Playing with a girl down

Odjie Mamon, Head Coach of the Tigresses, pointed out that they were missing the services of starting libero Jamie Morado, who did not suit up in the game for personal reasons. Former libero Dansel Dusaran had to take over the defensive post.

“I think the adjustment of Coach Ramil during the game neutralized our game plan,” he remarked on the reason why the defending champions ended up winning the match.

Unparalleled determination

De Jesus was not really satisfied with the results of the game since it reached five sets, but did not fail to mention that he was impressed with their determination. Graduating Cruz said that the team’s exemplary performance was able to reinforce its right to retain the championship.

One game at a time

Both Coach Ramil De Jesus and Gumabao suggested that the team should take the games one at a time. They added that the Lady Spikers should focus during training and avoid complacency during the games.

With the team completing a first round sweep, teams are more eager to find a way to beat La Salle. “Alam namin na lahat ng teams sobrang eager na kaming matalo, pero eager din kami manalo, so we’re gonna emerge stronger, (We know that all teams will be very eager to beat us, but we are also eager to win, so we are going to emerge stronger)”, vows Gumabao.

Brian Lance Tamayao

By Brian Lance Tamayao

Adiel Sam De Jesus

By Adiel Sam De Jesus

Jerome Alvarez

By Jerome Alvarez

Imman Canicosa

By Imman Canicosa

17 replies on “Lady Spikers silence Tigresses, completes first round sweep”

Leave a Reply