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UAAP Finals: Lady Spikers prevail over Ateneo in Game Two

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After a disappointing loss in Game One of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Finals, the DLSU Lady Spikers rallied in Game Two, winning in four sets against the ADMU Lady Eagles, 25-14, 25-20,19-25, 26-24, last March 8 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Leading the charge for the Lady Spikers was Ara Galang who scored a total of 17 points off 16 attacks and one block. With the  victory, the Lady Spikers are just one win away from concluding the season and taking back another championship to Taft Avenue. Spikers gain momentum The Lady Eagles opened the first set of the contest with a three-point lead, but the Lady Spikers rallied back with an 8-3 run to take a two-point advantage at 8-6. After the technical timeout, the Lady Eagles came back and tied the game, but La Salle extended its lead to 18-13 with an 8-3 run. Galang, Cyd Demecillo and Mika Reyes fired the reigning champions in the attacking department as Demecillo contributed six points while Reyes added 14 points for the match. Due to a series of blocks and attacks by the Lady Spikers alongside a couple of errors by the Lady Eagles, the Taft-based squad reached set point with a 6-0 run, the longest in the game. The first set ended with a spike by Demecillo that gave the Lady Spikers a 25-14 victory. In the second set, the Lady Spikers took the early lead with a 9-4 run. With a series of errors from both teams, the lead shrunk to just two points at 12-10 just as head coach Ramil De Jesus called for timeout. Immediately after the time out, the Lady Spikers got into 4-0 run which extended their lead over the Lady Eagles to 16-10. Galang, Reyes, Demecillo and team captain Abigail Marano continued to be the players to count on for the Lady Spikers. Both teams engaged in a heated exchange of attacks which ended with La Salle holding a 24-20 lead. The second set ended with the Lady Spikers winning 25-20 due to an error by UAAP Season 76 MVP Alyssa Valdez. A sudden collapse The Lady Spikers began the third set ahead by four points at 5-1, but the Lady Eagles put up an 8-1 run to take a two-point lead that later escalated to fourat 11-7. However, DLSU substitute Denice Tan sas the wake up call that her squad needed to tie the set at 11-all. The successive plays were shaky again for the Lady Spikers as they committed several attacking errors while Ateneo was more composed in their offense. Valdez and surprise bench player Kim Gequillana, who went into the game for Michelle Morente, boosted the Lady Eagles and gave them a steady lead over La Salle. Ateneo’s blocking became the key game changer for them and they took control of the set for good. Finally, a spike from Gequillana extended the match and kept Ateneo alive by winning the third set, 25-19. In the fourth set, both squads played solid volleyball as Galang, Marano, and Reyes made the noise on La Salle’s side while Valdez, Amy Ahomiro, and Ella De Jesus led the charge for Ateneo. The attacks of Galang and Marano put the Lady Spikers ahead of the Lady Eagles by as much as five points, 20-15. The Lady Spikers played consistently enough to easily take the match point courtesy of an attack by Reyes. However, the breaks of the game worked against the Lady Spikers after Valdez scored back-to-back service aces and tied the score at 24-all. Valdez committed a crucial service error in the following play, however, that gave La Salle another match point. A panic at the side of Ateneo caused an error and allowed the Lady Spikers to finally win the match, 26-24. Almost there For the Lady Spikers’ multi-titled head coach Ramil De Jesus, his team’s will to win became one of the key factors that brought his team back on the winning track. He adds, “Basta maniwala lang sila na atin ‘tong game na ‘to.” The Player of the Game Galang also pointed out that taking their errors during Game One on a positive note helped a lot in their team’s performance in today’s game. “Mindset namin is revenge din,” Galang shares. She adds, “Hindi kami magpapaagaw ng korona.” The next game of the finals series will happen on Wednesday, March 12, at 3:30 pm in the Mall of Asia Arena. Will coach Ramil de Jesus and the Lady Spikers bag their fourth straight championship? Or will ADMU head coach Ty Bundit and the rest of the Lady Eagles bounce back to push for a deciding knock out Finals match-up?

By Maria Teresa de Borja

By Joseton Lichauco

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