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UAAP: Aiming high, Lady Spikers clinch back-to-back wins at expense of Lady Falcons

The DLSU Lady Spikers seized a win against the AdU Lady Falcons in three sets, 25-21, 25-20, 25-14, earlier today, May 7, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Outside hitter and veteran Jolina Dela Cruz and rookie Alleiah Malaluan both led the Lady Spikers with 12 points each. Team captain and setter Marionne Alba also managed to tally 15 excellent sets for DLSU. Justine Jazareno also continues to be steady as their libero, recording 12 successful receives from 15 attempts. 

After an impressive performance, the Lady Spikers now hold a 2-0 win-loss record to start their Season 84 campaign.

In a losing effort, Lady Falcons, Lucille Almonte and May Ann Nuique were able to pitch in 12 attacks each. Almonte also recorded seven excellent digs for Adamson. Setter and Lady  Falcons team captain Louie Romero also produced 10 excellent sets.

Building momentum

The game started with Dela Cruz breaking ground to give La Salle its first point. DLSU built an early 4-0 lead after a service ace by Alba, showcasing the Taft-based squad’s efficient execution in the first few moments of the match. But unforced errors made it difficult for both teams to maintain a lead. A service error from Rochelle Lalongisip, along with a drop ball from Thea Gagate and a down-the-line attack from Malaluan forced Adamson to call a timeout late in the first set, 20-18.

Leila Cruz boosted the lead with a down-the-line attack but Adamson was eager to rally back, with Almonte hitting one off the block. Aliah Marce and Nuique also managed to break DLSU’s towering blockers, 23-21. But what gave La Salle the upper hand to reach set point was an overset from setter Romero. Cruz then gave an emphatic block against Nuique to hand DLSU the first-set win, 25-21. 

Challenge accepted

The second set began with a long rally, which ended with Lorene Toring tipping the ball past the DLSU blockers, 1-0. Dela Cruz quickly answered with a cross court attack to tie the score at 1-all. However, the Green-and-White squad was challenged by miscommunication, coupled with Adamson’s pesky plays—challenging DLSU’s net defense. Two straight points were carried out off a running attack from Rizza Cruz and a nifty spike from Nuique—ushering a comeback for the Lady Falcons, 6-3.

With Cruz and Gagate being the focal points of La Salle’s defense, Adamson struggled to score midway past the second set—especially with their outside hitters being denied by the Lady Spikers. Eventually, DLSU would go on a 6-1 run to finish the second set, 25-20, led by two service aces by Mereophe Sharma and a quick attack by Gagate.

Towering presences

Coming off their two-set lead advantage, the Lady Spikers used this momentum to open the third set. The combination of Baby Jyne Soreño at the outside and Gagate in the middle proved to be too much for the Lady Falcons as La Salle built a comfortable 4-1 lead at the start of what would be the final set. AdU middle hitter Nuique, however, strived to stave off the lead with consecutive attacks of her own, capped off with a down-the-middle spike by Almonte. The two teams continued to exchange rallies heading into the second technical timeout, 16-13, in favor of DLSU. 

Sharma and Dela Cruz immediately made their presence felt after the timeout, rejecting AdU’s futile attempts to score, which effectively built a comfortable lead for the Lady Spikers, 20-13. Since then, the Lady Spikers breezed through with momentum on their side to spark a 5-0 run, denying Adamson any chance to overtake the Taft-based squad’s lead. Ultimately, a block from the ever-reliable team captain Alba sealed the victory for La Salle in the third set, 25-14.

“In the end, nakapag-adjust naman kami. Compared to our first game, I think we played better this game,” said Sharma after being asked how her team fared in today’s match. “I don’t want to give myself too much pressure. Basta whatever we practice every day, ayun lang ipapakita ko sa game,” she added.

(In the end, we were able to adjust…Whatever we practice every day, that’s what I’m going to show in the game.)

The Green-and-White will look to continue their winning ways as they face off against the undefeated NU Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday, May 10, at 4 pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores: 

DLSU – Dela Cruz 12, Malaluan 12, Gagate 9, Sharma 8, Cruz 6, Soreño 6, Alba 3 

AdU –  Almonte 12, Nuique 12, Cruz 6, Marce 5, Toring 4, Genesis 1, Romero 0, Lalongisip 0 

Set Scores – 25-21, 25-20, 25-14

By Dayne Aduna

By Ysa Bakabak

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