UAAP: Lady Spikers tower over FEU Lady Tamaraws in straight sets, continue hot start

The DLSU Lady Spikers remain atop the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Volleyball tournament standings after clobbering the FEU Tamaraws in a commanding three-set sweep, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21, to claim their fifth win earlier today, March 11, at the PhilSports Arena.

Team Captain Mars Alba spearheaded the offensive charge, facilitating 19 excellent sets for La Salle that led four Lady Spikers to post double-digit points in a Player of the Game-worthy performance. Thea Gagate and Angel Canino contributed 13 markers each, while Leila Cruz and Jolina Dela Cruz both chipped in 10 points.

In a losing effort, Cherrie Tagaod led the Lady Tamaraws in scoring 10 points, followed by rookie Alyzza Devosora providing nine of her own.

Booming start 

The Lady Spikers got down to business as a Gagate hit off a block and a Dela Cruz block gave an early lead, 2-0. The Lady Tamaraws charged back as Ann Asis’ off the block attack gave her team the advantage early on, 4-3. The Green and White shortly took control of the game  as they launched an eight-point run off a combination with Cruz’s points and Canino’s well-placed attacks, 11-4. The Morayta-based squad got back on the board as they stopped the run with a pair of attacks from Devosora and Mitzi Panangin, 11-6.

Sticking to the game plan, Canino unleashed three consecutive attacks to build a comfortable lead, 14-7. Several La Salle errors, sandwiched by a Devosora block and Genzel Petallo attack, allowed FEU to inch closer, 15-11. A Canino back-row attack capped off a long rally to give La Salle a comfortable cushion going into the set’s second technical timeout, 16-11.

The Taft-based team pushed their advantage amid the opposition errors and rode their early lead throughout the set, with a pair of well-placed Dela Cruz attacks putting her team at set point, 24-15. After a strong attack, Panangin tried to light a fire under her team, but an efficient finish from Baby Jyne Soreño gave the Lady Spikers the set, 25-16.

Oozing with offense 

DLSU rode the coattails of their momentous start in the first two frames as their towering defense built by Gagate along with Canino’s explosive hits proved to be too much for the Lady Tamaraws in the second set. With FEU having not much to offer in their defensive efforts, Cruz took advantage and converted a quick kill down the middle to give the team from Taft an 8-3 lead entering the first technical timeout of the second set.

Canino started off hot after the break, bouncing back from her relatively lackluster performance against UE in the previous game. She went to match her scoring output of 10 points just midway through the second frame alone after swinging a service ace, 11-4. However, the Lady Tamaraws started to make their offensive presence known after rallying a 4-0 run commanded by Devosora to trim the lead to three, 12-9. To regain momentum, La Salle shifted gears in their attacks to blitz through a four-point lead heading into the second technical timeout after a down-the-line hit from Cruz, 16-12.

Immediately after, the team from Taft pulled away with consecutive kills from Gagate and Dela Cruz that dominated  the attacking department, converting 17 attacks compared to FEU’s 10 in the penultimate frame, as the Green and White came out on top, 25-18.

Unstoppable charge

Riding the momentum, the Green and White aimed to stick to their game plan as an Alba ace gave her squad an early 2-0 lead. Not looking to be outdone, the Tamaraws strung together several rallies which Asis ended with an attack on the line to even it up, 3-3. Both teams went at each other in the early going of the set as they traded both errors and attacks, but a Fifi Sharma ace after the third set’s first technical timeout gave the Lady Spikers some room to breathe, 9-7.

Utilizing their gigantic presence at the net, the Taft-based squad went on a four-point run capped by a Gagate push to build a 13-8 lead. However, FEU kept their poise amid their dismal performance, awakening a 3-0 run after a net touch violation by Gagate, 21-20. The middle blocker then retaliated afterwards with a quick kill down the middle followed by a service ace to put the Lady Spikers at match point, 24-21. The Lady Tamaraws were not able to recover as Tagaod was called for a net touch violation after trying to overcome Gagate’s defense, wrapping up the contest at 25-21.

Even with the strong win, DLSU mentor Noel Orcullo did not expect the game to go as fast as it did, but he shared that there are still points to improve on. “Marami pa kami kailangan ayusin dahil nagkakaroon parin kami ng lapses.”

(We need to fix many things because we are still having lapses.)

Talking about the Lady Spikers’ game performance after the win, super rookie Canino resounded how proud she is of her team and how the win is a big confidence booster especially after they were able to push and improve on their defense.

In her Season 85 debut, Alleiah Malaluan commented that the great experience from the game can help elevate the team especially with the level of opposition continuing to rise. “Pwede siyang way na tumaas ang kumpyansa namin and at the same time mas ma-improve po namin mga mali namin, kasi di naman natin masasabi na lahat ng ginawa natin perfect, kaya yung game kanina ay learning experience.”

(It could be a way for our trust to increase and at the same time improve on our mistakes because we can’t say we did everything perfectly, and that’s why the game was a learning experience.)

The Lady Spikers look to stay undefeated as they face off the AdU Soaring Falcons next Sunday, March 19, at the FilOIl EcoOil Centre.

The Scores:

DLSU 3 – Canino 13, Gagate 13, Cruz 10, Dela Cruz 10, Sharma 4, Alba, 2, Provido, 2, Soreño 2, Malaluan 1

FEU 0 – Tagaod 10, Devosora 9, Encarnacion 5, Panangin 5, Fernandez 3, Petallo 3, Monarez 1, Truz 1

Set Scores – 25-16, 25-18, 25-21

Dayne Aduna

By Dayne Aduna

Joaquin Constantino

By Joaquin Constantino

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