The DLSU Lady Spikers kept their winning streak alive after thwarting the UE Lady Warriors in three sets, 25-20, 25-21, 25-14, earlier today, March 8, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Thea Gagate dominated for La Salle with a total of 13 points, eight attacks and five blocks—exhibiting both her offensive and defensive prowess. Super rookie Angel Canino also managed to chip in 10 points, having eight attacks and seven excellent digs.
In a losing effort, Vanessa Bangayan and Janeca Lana led the UE Lady Warriors in the scoreboard with 14 points and 11 points, respectively. They were supported by Percae Nieva who tallied eight points, one block, and one service ace.
Coming from a successful game against the ADMU Blue Eagles, the Green and White maintained their offensive finesse as Fifi Sharma created separation for La Salle with a power tip, 5-3. Unable to handle the pressure, the UE Lady Warriors suffered from successive errors which were topped off with a service error. This gave DLSU an early two-point lead heading into the first technical timeout of the set, 8-6.
Coming from the break, Canino committed two consecutive errors which tied the game at 8-all. Veteran players Jolina Dela Cruz and Mars Alba brought matters into their own hands as they converted reliable plays to keep DLSU in the lead, 11-9. Afterward, the Taft-based team found their footing and showcased their admirable defense and blocking abilities as the Gagate and Canino tandem denied the attacks of UE, 14-10. A lousy service error from Bangayan propelled La Salle into a five-point advantage heading into the second technical timeout of the first set, 16-11.
The Lady Spikers continued with their excellent performance as Interim Head Coach Noel Orcullo brought in Julia Coronel from the bench to score back-to-back service aces for her team, 19-14. The team from Recto greatly suffered from their constant errors in their reception, bringing La Salle at set point, 24-20. With no room to extend the set, Gagate closed the second frame with a powerful quick attack, 25-20.
Keeping it close
DLSU struggled to string together plays early in the second set and saw their defense be challenged by the opposing team from Recto. An attack error from La Salle gave UE the lead after Bangayan and Lana scored off down-the-line attacks, 4-0. Momentum switched in the set as the Lady Warriors kept their defense solid—executing pesky plays that tested DLSU’s floor defense.
After a cross-court attack from Bangayan, Gagate scored consecutive points by answering back with a power tip and a block to put DLSU up by two points, 5-3. On the same note, Jyne Soreño also proved to be one of the driving forces of the Lady Spikers, scoring back-to-back with a down the line attack and a service ace to take the lead before heading into the first technical timeout, 8-7.
The team from Taft managed to pull away in the latter part of the set, maximizing their offensive front. The Green and White called for a timeout at 21-19 after Leila Cruz committed an attack error. Rookie middle blocker, Amie Provido, converted a powerful quick attack to tally another point for La Salle, 22-19. To put DLSU at match point, veteran Dela Cruz secured the second set with a cross-court attack, 25-21.
Shutting it down
The DLSU Lady Spikers kept their momentum alive as they excelled in their offensive efforts, with Soreño giving her team an early advantage with a down the line attack, 6-4. Rookie standout Canino made back-to-back points as she broke the net defense of UE to bring her team to the first technical timeout, 8–5. The break somehow rattled the Green and White as an attack from Sepada went through their defense, 9-6.
La Salle recovered their tempo, sparking an opening for their net defense as the Taft towers of Gagate and Dela Cruz denied any offensive opportunities from the Lady Warriors, 11-6. This fast-paced rhythm was echoed by Canino who scored a backrow attack, 12-6. Gagate then led the blockings of La Salle as she blocked consecutive attacks from the Lady Warriors, 18-8.
Orcullo decided to shake things up as he called Shevana Laput from the bench, who rattled UE with her explosive jump serves. Not looking to extend the match any further, Gagate and Dela Cruz took matters into their own hands as they rejected spikes from Bangayan, 20-10. To end the game, Gagate solidly blocked the last attack from Lana, 25-14. This ended the match with the Lady Spikers tallying 15 blocks, showcasing their well-known dominance above the net.
Despite her side’s slow start, veteran blocker Gagate shared how the team was reminded by the coaches to stick to their tempo and focus on improving in each of their games, “Every game naman may learning talaga so kailangan tuloy-tuloy lang yung pag-improve.”
(There is learning in every game so we need to continuously improve.)
Despite his team’s flawless start, DLSU mentor Orcullo is not satisfied with the team’s performance as he believes the team can do better with their potential. “Kailangan mas pulido, ‘di dapat tayo nakikitaan ng weakness ng kalaban natin.” He furthered how respect should still be given to their opponents and to avoid complacency inside the court.
(We need to be more polished, we should not let our opponents see our weakness.)
The Lady Spikers will clash with the FEU Lady Tamaraws on Saturday, March 11, at 12 pm at the PhilSports Arena.
DLSU 3 – Gagate 13, Canino 10, Dela Cruz 9, Soreño 7, Provido 6, Coronel 3, Cruz 2, Sharma 1, Larroza 1, Alba 1, Jazareno 0, Laput 0, De Leon 0
UE 0 – Bangayan 14, Lana 11, Nieva 8, Cepada 7, Pelaga 2, Quizon 1, Tequin 0, Babol 0, Reyes 0
Set Scores: 25-20, 25-21, 25-14