UAAP: Lady Spikers shoot down Blue Eagles in lopsided rival matchup


The DLSU Lady Spikers annihilated their archrivals, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, in three sets, 25-16, 25-20, 25-13, making a statement in their long-awaited UAAP Season 85 matchup earlier today, March 5, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Making it her third straight player of the game performance, super rookie Angel Canino led her team to victory with 23 points on 21 attacks and nine excellent digs. Also shining in the affair was the veteran Jolina Dela Cruz who posted 13 points and three blocks, while Thea Gagate contributed 10 points. 

For the Blue Eagles, team captain Faith Nisperos tallied 11 points and 11 excellent digs. She was supported by Vanessa Gandler and Yvana Sulit who made six points each. 

Unparalleled offensive showing

Canino spearheaded the Lady Spikers’ early thrashing in the first set as she uncorked four straight attacks that put them on an early 5-0 scoring run and prompted Ateneo Head Coach Oliver Almadro to call for time, 7-2. Sulit immediately converted a quick attack of the timeout to stop the bleeding for the Blue Eagles, but Leila Cruz responded with a down-the-line hit to lead La Salle into the first technical timeout with a sizable advantage, 8-3.

In an attempt to come back, Ateneo went on a 3-0 scoring run to trim the deficit down to two, 8-6, until Canino launched a cross-court kill and a drop ball to stretch the lead back up to four, 10-6. Despite a morale-boosting Gandler back attack, the trio of Fifi Sharma, Dela Cruz, and Mars Alba chipped in one point apiece to pull away at 13-7. Both teams went on to trade points until Gagate smashed a powerful attack down the middle which took La Salle to the second technical timeout, 16-9.

Off the break, Nisperos and Dela Cruz went on a spiking showdown until the Blue Eagles scored three straight markers that urged La Salle Head Coach Noel Orcullo to call his first timeout, 18-13. Shortly after, Cruz iced the Ateneo run by connecting on a double quick, but Lyann De Guzman answered back for the Blue Eagles with a cross-court kill of her own, 19-14. 

The two teams were in close contest until the 21-16 mark when the Lady Spikers unleashed a 4-0 bomb to close out the set—courtesy of a Soreño down-the-line, two Ateneo errors, and a Dela Cruz cross-court attack, 25-16.

Up-tempo exchanges 

With the game’s momentum highly in their favor after the previous set, the DLSU Lady Spikers maintained their offensive and defensive strategies. Middle blocker Gagate contributed back-to-back plays for her team with a service ace and a single block to create some separation early into the frame, 5-2. This was followed by three consecutive points by Canino, which brought her team to the first technical timeout of the second set as they looked to run away with the game, 8-3. 

Exiting the break, the Green and White stumbled in their reception, as a service ace from AC Miner topped off a 3-0 run for the Blue Eagles, 8-6. This was immediately shut down by a solid single block from Gagate, eventually giving them a four-point advantage, 11-7. The team from Katipunan could not contain the fast-paced plays of the Dela Cruz and Canino tandem—bringing DLSU to the second technical timeout of the set, 16-11. 

Aiming to continue their excellent momentum, DLSU Head Coach Orcullo brought in Jyne Soreño and Julia Coronel to shake things up. Afterward, Canino’s off-speed attack capped off DLSU’s 4-0 run, 19-13. However, the Lady Spikers scrambled in their reception as they suffered from a few errors, the La Salle tactician called for a timeout, looking to regroup his team. With no room for error, Dela Cruz broke through the blockers of Ateneo, which was topped off with a service error from the Blue Eagles to end the set, 25-20.

Merciless closing

Dela Cruz relentlessly opened the third frame with an attack from the opposite. Following two unforced errors on the end of the Blue Eagles, La Salle saw themselves up early in the deciding set, 3-0. A Gandler attack and an unfortunate DLSU error cut the lead down to one, 3-2, but Gagate took it back for the Green and White after capitalizing on two faulty receptions from the Blue Eagles on top of two Ateneo errors, 7-2. 

Both teams went on an exchange of points until the 9-5 mark when La Salle unloaded a 3-0 showing. Led by a spike and an ace by Canino and a Sharma kill block on Gandler. La Salle was poised to take their third straight set, 12-5. Blue Eagle Geezel Tsunashima registered a crosscourt hit of her own to rally her team back in the game, only to be countered by two straight markers from the Taft-based squad, 14-6. The Blue Eagles were showing signs of life as they started to finally activate their offensive prowess, managing to cut the lead down to six and head into the second technical timeout, 16-10.

The Lady Spikers did not permit any attempt for a Blue-blooded comeback as they returned with even more aggression after the break. A solid kill block from Canino that denied Tsunashima’s spike sparked the beginning of the 9-3 offensive run from the Lady Spikers, 17-10. It was a total team effort as Canino, rookie Amie Provido, Soreño, and Micah Larroza had their share of the limelight after contributing individually to the dominant scoring parade of the Lady Spikers. Despite an error, Dela Cruz redeemed it for her team after delivering the last two points from the left wing to end the set and run away with the victory, 25-13.

Playing her very first rival match against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, rookie standout Canino shared her thoughts on the long-awaited game, “Siyempre masaya, because it’s a different thing if [you’re in a] rivalry [game], but at the same time, may pressure din.”

(Of course it was fun, because it’s a different thing if you’re in a rivalry game, but at the same time, there’s also pressure)

The Lady Spikers look to resume their winning streak this season on March 8 against the UE Lady Warriors at 10 am at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.  

The Scores: 

DLSU 3 – Canino 23, Dela Cruz 13, Gagate 10, Sharma 6, Alba 4, Soreño 2, Provido 1, Larroza 1, Cruz 1, Jazareno 0, De Leon 0, Coronel 0 

ADMU 0 – Nisperos 11, Gandler 6, Sulit 6, Miner 5, Tsunashima 3, Doromal 1, De Guzman 1, Lomocso 0, Fujimoto 0, Cruz 0, Licauco 0

Set Scores: 25-16, 25-20, 25-13

Andrea Ysobel Bacolor

By Andrea Ysobel Bacolor

Tana Melgar

By Tana Melgar

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