UAAP: Lady Spikers make quick work against Lady Warriors

The DLSU Lady Spikers ended their two-game losing skid at the expense of the UE Lady Warriors in three straight sets, 25-15, 25-14, 25-15, earlier today, May 14, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. 

Alleiah Malaluan led the way for the Lady Spikers tallying 14 points on 11 attacks, two service aces, and a block. Middle blocker Fifi Sharma and veteran outside hitter Jolina Dela Cruz also scored in double figures, both contributing 10 points a piece.

In a losing effort for the Lady Warriors, Janeca Lana earned a team-high 11 points. Dara Nieva contributed 10 markers and 11 excellent digs.

Setting the tempo

In her first start for the Lady Spikers, Julia Coronel sparked her team to an early 3-0 lead with two straight service aces, followed by an opponent error. Afterward, DLSU committed an error and gave UE their first point in the match. The team from Taft then seized control—going on a 7-0 run and dominating plays above the net. 

After a magnificent start by the Lady Spikers, the set started slipping away for the Lady Warriors. But the undersized team eventually found their offense, working through and around the blocks of their rivals. They went on a 6-3 run and slowly cut the deficit built on the fluid setting of Coronel. DLSU’s defense continued to falter, but the squad countered with a 4-1 run. Thea Gagate rose for a block and sent her team to the second technical timeout leading, 16-11.

Exiting the huddle, DLSU head coach Ramil de Jesus’ side looked to close out the set after seeing their advantage dwindle. Their height advantage and the veteran setting of Marionne Alba propelled them to outscore their opposition, 24-15, with Sharma putting her side at set point via a quick attack. With a large nine-point difference for the Green-and-White, Malaluan found a wipe off the block to wrap up a dominating opening set, 25-15.

Defensive clinic

The Lady Warriors opened the second set with a block point from Riza Nogales and an error from the Lady Spikers to race ahead, 2-0. The team from Taft tied the score courtesy of back-to-back errors from UE, 2-2. Lana answered back with a cross-court hit, while Gagate tied the score with a quick middle hit to begin the continuing deadlocks at 3-all.

UE continued to power through and did not give DLSU breathing room early as they consistently matched each point. However, the Lady Spikers went into the first technical timeout up by one, courtesy of Dela Cruz’s quick hit, 8-7. After the timeout, Nogales went back to work and scored a point to tie the game at 8-all. 

After an attack error from Lana, UE head coach Ronwald Dimaculangan called a timeout as DLSU built a three-point lead courtesy of Gagate and Sharma patrolling the net defense of the team, 14-11. Nieva answered quickly after the timeout with an attack off the tall blockers of DLSU to inch closer, 14-12. 

Malaluan spearheaded the run with two service aces and two attacks. Sharma chipped in two blocks in the set, while Dela Cruz closed out the set with a down-the-line hit, 25-14.

Closing out the match

After making light work of the first two sets, DLSU continued their superb defensive performance, dominating the net with their blocking and maintaining excellent floor defense, hustling for every ball that went their way. UE struggled to find their footing as they were one set away from defeat—committing errors that handed over momentum to their opponent. The Lady Spikers opened the clinching set in dominant fashion, acquiring an early 7-2 advantage.

After Gagate’s service ace increased the lead to five, UE sparked themselves back with two straight points before a dink by Cruz sent La Salle ahead into the first technical timeout. Down 8-4, the Lady Warriors slowly worked to reduce their score deficit, exiting the huddle with another point to mark a 3-1 run and cutting the gap back to three.

However, this was short-lived, as the towers of Sharma and Dela Cruz stamped their mark on the game, relentlessly dominating on both offense and defense to catapult the Lady Spikers to a  6-2 run. UE and DLSU traded points, but UE could not cut into the lead. Malaluan pushed her team toward the finish line, scoring three straight points for the team from Taft. Down 21-13, the Lady Warriors persevered to extend the match with back-to-back points, but Baby Jyne Soreño immediately replied with two straight hits to put them at match point.

With a 24-15 lead, the arena was expecting a lofty ball delivered to Coronel to finish the match with an exclamation. However, her set misfired, yet the ball still managed to cross the net and score, putting an anticlimactic end to an outstanding performance by the Lady Spikers.

Veteran setter Alba had high praise for the rookie outside hitter Malaluan, who has been a consistent source of production, saying, “Malaking bagay si Alleiah as a rookie. Kita naman natin ‘yung potential niya as a player and pinapakita niya talaga ‘yung galing as a rookie.”

(Alleiah plays a big part as a rookie. Everyone sees her potential as a player and she shows her greatness as a rookie.)

Coming off of two straight losses, assistant coach Benson Bocboc shared that it was important for his team to get back on track, “Yung game, galing sa dalawang talo, so struggle talaga. We’re trying to get our rhythm. We’re trying to get it back and maganda naman yung resulta.” 

(Coming back from two losses, this game was really a struggle. We’re trying to get our rhythm. We’re trying to get it back and the results were good.)

The Green-and-White look to continue their winning run as they face off against the UP Fighting Maroons on Tuesday, May 17, at 10 am at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores: 

DLSU – Malaluan 14, Dela Cruz 10, Sharma 10, Gagate 9, Cruz 7, Coronel 4, Soreno 3, Hatulan 1, Espina 1, Alba 0, Ordiales 0, Tolentino 0

UE – Lana 11, Nieva 10, Nogales 4, Pelaga 4, Manalo 3, Dimaculangan 0, Quizon 0, Villamor 0

Set Scores – 25-15, 25-14, 25-15

By Diego Manzano

By Raphael Serrano

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