UAAP: Lady Spikers overwhelm UE, secure Final Four berth

The DLSU Lady Spikers secured a spot in the Final Four after overpowering the UE Lady Warriors, 25-16-25-15, 25-9. Desiree Cheng willed La Salle to victory with 10 points on nine attacks and a service ace. Veterans MaJoy Baron and Kim Fajardo added in 9 points apiece with the former recording three blocks and the latter scoring on four service aces and a block. Jana Sta. Maria led UE in the losing effort, scoring six points.

Setting the tone

Despite looking a bit shaky to start the game, DLSU went off to a 6-1 lead early in the first set. La Salle displayed potent offense, but UE matched the Green-and-White’s efforts with stellar floor defense. Halfway through the first set, Tin Tiamzon recorded three quick hits to help her team score four answered points and take a 16-8 lead.

Battling inconsistency for majority of the season, the sophomore provided strong attacks early on to keep their opponents at bay. Besides Tiamzon, La Salle relied on Cheng offensively despite her multiple errors. The Lady Spikers eventually went on to win the first set, 25-16.

Bringing in energy


Baron kicked off the second set with a strong kill with the help of Kim Fajardo, who orchestrated her team throughout the game with 31 excellent sets. Keen on getting back on track, the Lady Warriors scattered DLSU defensively which translated to the latter struggling for ideal scoring chances.

After the first technical timeout of the second set, UE scored four straight points through La Salle’s errors. It was not a problem, however, as the Lady Spikers went on a 10-0 run to pull away, 18-7. With the lead at hand, head coach Ramil De Jesus decided to field in his bench.

During the scoring run, he sent in Norielle Ipac who finished the game with two points. De Jesus then inserted Michelle Cobb and Arriane Layug, with the former setting her teammates up for points, and the latter scoring three points, showing her offensive skillset. Furthermore, May Luna also checked into the game to give the team more offense. Even with their opponents scoring on multiple occasions, the Lady Spikers sealed the set, 25-15.

In an attempt to come back despite trailing by two sets, the UE Lady Warriors responded to each of DLSU’s attacks with their own. However, with the score at 7-5, the Lady Spikers were too much to handle for the Lady Warriors as they scored six straight points led by Aduke Ogunsanya and Kim Kianna Dy, who finished with eight points, two of which were service aces.

La Salle halted its own run by committing a four-touch violation, but made up for the mistake by scoring six straight points. At the 19-7 mark, bench player Gyra Barroga was sent in and scored her first point in the UAAP. The Lady Spikers would eventually finish the set and win the match, 25-9.

Heading into the crucial stretch of the season, De Jesus commented, “Laging sinasabi ko, hard work and perseverance. Lagi kaming ganun kasi almost a year in preparation, so kailangan lagi i-motivate mga bata.” (I always tell them, hard work and perseverance. That’s how it is for us because preparation lasts for almost year so we have to motivate the girls.)

As the playoffs approach, La Salle will continue its campaign versus the UST Golden Tigresses on Wednesday, March 29, at 4pm in the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The scores:

DLSU 75 (3)- Cheng 10, Baron 9, Fajardo 9, Dy 8, Tiamzon 7, Layug 3, Ipac 2, Barroga 1

UE 40 (0)- Sta. Maria 6, Mendrez 5, Baliton 4, Abil 3, Gabarda 2, Catindig 1, Rodriguez 1, Olarve 1, Alcayde 1

Patrick Quintero

By Patrick Quintero

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