UAAP Final Four: Lady Spikers eliminate Golden Tigresses, book return trip to the finals

The DLSU Lady Spikers walked away with a 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13 victory over the UST Golden Tigresses earlier today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to advance to the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Finals. Kim Fajardo led La Salle with 11 points on five service aces and dictated the Green-and-White offense with 39 excellent sets.

MaJoy Baron brought the Lasallians the offense they needed with 17 points on 13 spikes and four blocks. In addition, Tin Tiamzon supported her team with 13 points on 10 attacks and had 13 excelent digs. UST was able to keep up with the defending champions after captain Cherry Rondina recorded 16 points all on attacks.

With another finals appearance awaiting the Lady Spikers, head coach Ramil De Jesus emphasized that his players have to focus more on themselves rather than their opponents. “May times na hindi mangagaling sa UST yung problema. Sa team namin mismo [at times].” (Sometimes the problems did not come from UST but ourselves.)


Strong from the get-go

The Lady Spikers seemed determined right off the bat after their last loss to the ADMU Lady Eagles. Their offensive and defensive game looked fluid, finding ideal looks on attacks and reception. Heading into the first technical timeout (TTO), DLSU led by four points, 8-4, but due to separate occasions of confusion on offense, UST began to chip away at its deficit.

Desiree Cheng was feisty on both offense and defense early on and created problems for UST. She went on to score seven of her 11 points in the first set and finished with three aces in the process.

Keen on evening the score with their opponents, the Golden Tigresses played with more urgency. DLSU led for majority of the set, but after a controversial call on Macandili’s pancake, there was a shift in momentum which favored the team from Espana.

However, DLSU was able to keep UST at bay with its exceptional blocking anchored by Baron and Ogunsanya. La Salle recorded seven blocks, three more than that of UST, which committed seven errors in the second set.


Turning the tables

The Golden Tigresses jumped to a quick 6-1 lead to start the third set. Despite an injury to EJ Laure, who awkwardly landed on Kim Dy’s foot beneath the net before the first TTO, UST managed to retain control of the game over its opponents. DLSU was soon able to equalize the score and even retook the lead. Unfortunately for the Lasallians, four straight DLSU errors swung the lead back to the Thomasians.


With UST leading, 23-19, Fajardo scored two consecutive service aces to bring the team from Taft within striking distance. Soon after, three straight successful attacks by Tiamzon leveled the score at 24-all, but it was still UST who surfaced on top after Rondina capped the set with a burly spike down the stretch. Additionally, La Salle committed more unforced errors than UST, committing 11 in the third frame alone.

De Jesus was infuriated with his team following the third set, “Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na hindi pwede ganoon yung galaw.” (I just told them that shouldn’t be our movement.) DLSU then blazed to a quick 6-0 lead to begin the fourth set. Soon,  the Lasallians extended their lead, 11-2, only surrendering two points from its errors. From then on, La Salle never looked back and brought back its fluid offense and firm defense, which were gone during the previous set. DLSU clinched the match, 25-13, as well as a spot in the finals after a lopsided fourth set.

De Jesus then concluded that the Lady Spikers must overcome the mindset they displayed, particularly in the third set, coming into their ninth straight finals appearance. “Hindi pwede pumasok sa finals na ganoon yung mentality at focus natin.” (We shouldn’t enter the finals with that kind of mentality and focus.)

The Lady Spikers and Lady Eagles will square off anew in Game 1 of the finals on Tuesday, May 2, at 4 pm in the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The scores

DLSU 99 (3) – Baron 17, Tiamzon 13, Dy 12, Cheng 11, Fajardo 11, Ogunsanya 9, Luna 3

UST 73 (1) – Rondina 16, Laure 14, Meneses 10, Palec 2, Fransisco 2, Cortez 2, Lastimosa 1

This article has been edited due to updates on the finals schedule.

Patrick Quintero

By Patrick Quintero

Leave a Reply