UAAP: Lady Spikers clash with FEU for title

A new strife will be featured in this year’s UAAP Women’s Volleyball tournament as the FEU Lady Tamaraws will be squaring off against the defending champions, the DLSU Lady Spikers. The Lady Tamaraws ended the season with a 10-4 win-loss card, whereas La Salle topped the standings with a 12-2 slate.

A heated rivalry between the head coaches, Ramil De Jesus and George Pascua, will surely be a sight to see since both coaches used to team up for the FEU Men’s Volleyball team back in their collegiate years. De Jesus has been the infamous head of the La Salle volleyball program, garnering 10 titles for the Green-and-White. Pascua, on the other hand, succeeded in halting the ADMU-DLSU finals showdown which has been prevalent for the past years.

This will be La Salle’s tenth consecutive finals appearance as it will look to bring home another title. However, the question remains, will the Lady Tamaraws end their ten-year title drought or will the Lasallians prevail in attaining a rare feat of a three-peat title?

Tenacious matchups

With the season coming to an end, both La Salle and FEU have the chemistry to give their all and vie for the prestigious title. Although La Salle appears to be league contenders, the team from Morayta seems to have the perfect lineup to match La Salle’s prowess. DLSU’s Kim Dy and reigning Most Valuable Player, Majoy Baron, will be pitted against an all-around FEU squad.

Offense can be found in FEU’s vital cogs Bernadeth Pons as well as veteran outside hitter, Chinchin Basas. Meanwhile, Celine Domingo has also contributed to the team’s combination plays as the previous UE student gives off easy spikes due to her length. As for La Salle, libero Dawn Macandilli, will be a crucial piece in stopping FEU’s quick one-two plays. Both teams have treated the fans with a couple of five-set-thriller matches in both their meetings back in the elimination rounds. La Salle negated an FEU comeback in the first round. Conversely, the Tamaraws put up a fight in their second meeting but faltered coming into the final set. Graduating players, Dy, Baron, Macandili, and Desiree Cheng will look to cement a legacy of their own and continue De Jesus’ streak.

Consistency is the key

It was an even start for both teams coming into their second match-up in Season 80. The Lady Spikers overwhelmed FEU as it won the first set, 25-17, taking full advantage of the several errors taken by the Lady Tamaraws. Nonetheless, the ladies in Green-and-White dropped the next two sets as Bernadeth Pons and Czar Carandang not only relentlessly tested the defense of the Lady Spikers, but were also able to force numerous errors by the champions to lead the game with two sets under their belt.

The team from Taft, though, showed how they were simply in another class of their own as they went into the fourth set poised and ready to take back the sets against the Lady Tamaraws. The set showed the composure of the Lady Spikers despite being a set behind as they continued to block any possible attacks from FEU. With the fourth set win, it brought the game back to square one, with two sets apiece. Furthermore, it was in the fifth and final set that showed the resilience of the Lasallians as they bested the team from Morayta. The match ended soon as the Lady Spikers finished the set by barely letting the Lady Tamaraws score at 15-5.

Despite winning their second match-up in the UAAP season, the errors that doomed them in the second and third set could be the factor that the Lady Tamaraws would easily take advantage of. The Lady Spikers are known for their capacity to recover from their obstacles and win the next few sets, however, if FEU would be able to capitalize from their opponent’s error quickly enough, Game 1 would be in favor of the Lady Tamaraws.

DLSU would need to prevent miscommunications inside the court from happening–as seen in some of the latest games of the Lady Spikers, and be more consistent in the way they play to prevent dropping sets easily for their opponents. Furthermore, with team captain Baron, Dy, Cheng, and Macandili playing their last Finals representing the Green-and-White, the undergraduate players would need to have a bigger impact in the scoresheets. With the likes of Tin Tiamzon and May Luna, who continue to prove their importance to the team, especially in crucial moments, will need to help their seniors in being more consistent in aggressively attacking its opponents without sacrificing the ironclad defense coach Ramil de Jesus is known for.

This Saturday, April 28, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Lady Spikers would be meeting FEU in Game 1 of the women’s volleyball best-of-three title series. A win for La Salle this Saturday would further solidify De Jesus’ place as one of the best coaches in Philippine collegiate volleyball.

As for the Lady Tamaraws, they are hoping to beat the defending champions after their last stint with each other in the Finals of Season 71 in which the Lasallians emerged as the champion.

Danielle Erika Capule

By Danielle Erika Capule

Renzo Miguel Mercado

By Renzo Miguel Mercado

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