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UAAP: Lady Spikers rout title-holders Lady Eagles in four-set debut

The DLSU Lady Spikers began their season on an excellent note as they dispatched their archrivals ADMU Lady Eagles in four sets, 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 25-15, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena. The perfect combination of offense and defense propelled the Green-and-White toward capturing the hard-fought victory. 

Tin Tiamzon was the catalyst on the offensive end as she tallied 17 points, with 14 on attacks. Sophomore Jolina Dela Cruz chipped in 13 markers along with 10 excellent receptions. Middle blocker Thea Gagate manned the net for the Green-and-White as she registered five blocks. 

Highly touted rookie, Faith Nisperos led the charge for the Lady Eagles as she garnered 13 points. Kat Tolentino struggled in the second game for Ateneo, after recording 15 points in their previous match against the UP Fighting Maroons. 

Caught by surprise

The beginning of the match was a nip-and-tuck affair as both schools were gauging each other’s strengths. An Aduke Ogunsanya block on Tolentino gave the Lady Spikers the lead, heading into the first technical timeout, 8-5. Four successive attacks by Dela Cruz helped the Taft-based squad to build a sizable advantage, 13-7. 

La Salle challenged the opposing defense, with head coach Ramil De Jesus starting three fresh faces right in the opening game. Rookie substitution, Jyne Soreño, caught the Blue-and-White’s defense by surprise as she scored three points toward the end of the set. Atenean Jules Samonte’s service error was the final point for the Lady Spikers, as they clinched the first set of the match, 25-17. 

Heart of a champion 

In the second set, the Lady Eagles were more prepared for the schemes of the Green-and-White, as they took the 8-6 advantage going into the first technical timeout. DLSU was on top, 16-12, after a Tiamzon spike; but things took a 360-degree turn as the Blue-and-White went on a 7-0 spurt to take control of the set, 19-16. Tiamzon tried her best to salvage the set with a cross-court spike, but the team from Katipunan showcased their championship pedigree in finishing the set. Costly errors from the Lady Spikers along with the firepower of the Atenean duo of Nisperos and Jhoanna Maraguinot meant La Salle conceded the second set, 25-17.

“Every game kailangan nandoonyung kumpyansa and kapag nagkamali palaging matuto lang tayo sa maling ginagawa hindi ‘yung pag nagkamali totally sinira ka na ng pagkakamali mo hanggang sa totally ‘yung performance mo wala na,” De Jesus later commented on the errors committed throughout the game.

(Every game the confidence has to be there, and  we just need to learn from any mistakes made, instead of allowing the errors to crumble into a ruined performance.)

Back to winning ways

The team from Taft went back to square one in the third set as they were being pushed to their limits by the team from Katipunan. The Lady Eagles piled up errors early in the set to give the Lady Spikers the advantage, 5-4. Tiamzon released a powerful crosscourt attack to help the cause of the Green-and-White, 10-all. A crucial block from Ogunsanya gave way to the second technical timeout––keeping La Salle ahead of their opponents, 16-15. 

From there, back-and-forth action was then seen from both sides of the court as the squads tried to outdo each other. A quick hit from the first-year player Gagate gave the momentum to the Green-and-White, 22-17. A crucial attack error from Ateneo’s back-up playmaker Jamie Lavitoria gave the set to La Salle, 25-17, preventing the Blue-and-White any chance of coming back from their eight-point deficit.

Coming from a third set win, the Lady Spikers held on to their momentum as Soreño drew first blood, 1-0. Just like the last set, the Lady Eagles were plagued once more with errors as they gave away four straight points to help the winning cause of La Salle, 12-6. From there, Soreño and Tiamzon attacked the opponent’s side of the court with powerful hits to further push the lead of the team from Taft, 19-7. 

At match point, Cruz hit a crosscourt shot that was ruled out and no touch by the first referee. However, coach De Jesus challenged the call and was successful in doing so as the ball made contact with an opponent’s hand on its way out. DLSU claimed the set, 25-15, and the statement victory.

The Lady Spikers will try to outplay UP––the team that they never defeated last season––on Tuesday, March 10, at 4pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. De Jesus is confident that his squad is more ready this year. 

“Medyo mahaba ‘yung preparations namin mabuo ‘yung team. Although, madaming rookies ‘yun ‘yung difference last year so mas ready kami this year,” the veteran mentor closed.

(Our preparation to build the team was long enough. Although, there are a lot of rookies, which is the main difference from last year, I believe we’re more ready this year.)

The scores: 

DLSU (92) – Tiamzon 17, Dela Cruz 13, Gagate 10, Cruz 9, Ogunsanya 9, Soreño 8, Cobb 1, Jazareno 1

ADMU (74) – Nisperos 13, Maraguinot 9, Gaston 7, Tolentino 6, Samonte 4, Raagas 1, Lavitoria 1 

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