UAAP: Lady Spikers harpoon Lady Falcons, in four sets, sustain golden streak

The DLSU Lady Spikers pulled off their sixth consecutive UAAP Season 85 win after defeating the Adamson Lady Falcons in a four-set outing, 22-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19, at the FilOil EcoOil Stadium in San Juan City earlier today, March 19.

For La Salle, setter and team captain Marionne Alba anchored the team with 15 excellent sets, four service aces, two attacks, and a block—further pushing four players to reach the double-digit benchmark. Wing spikers Angel Canino and Jolina Dela Cruz tallied 31 points combined, while middle blockers Thea Gagate and Fifi Sharma scored 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Rookie ace Trisha Tubu led the ladies in blue with 13 points.The left wing spiker was aided by Kate Santiago, who posted 12 points. 

Coming up short 

Struggling with Adamson’s varied offensive attack to open the match, the Lady Spikers had a less than ideal start, suffering from five errors and accumulating a four-point deficit before the first timeout was called, 8-4. The Lady Falcons continued their strong play coming off the timeout, with opposite hitters Tubu and Santiago both scoring two spikes each and extending their lead to six, 15-9.

Down big, La Salle was able to find a scoring spark in veteran Dela Cruz, who led her team to an 8-2 run, tying the set at 18-apiece. Rookie Canino and Sharma anchored DLSU’s defense in the run, scoring off of one block each while keeping the opposing attackers honest. Two straight errors proved fatal for the Lady Spikers as Adamson started to pull away. Despite Canino’s last minute efforts, the Lady Falcons finished strong to win the set 25-22.

Exerting Dominance 

Eager to redeem the first set, Dela Cruz and Gagate unleashed two successive spikes giving DLSU the lead by a point, 2-1. However, a joust at the net won by Tubu ended La Salle’s opening run. Jyne Soreño, who returned as a starter in the second set, pulled off smart plays from the opposite side, clinching a 3-1 run, 6-3. A perfect dig from Justine Jazareno that was recast into a point by Canino furthered the separation by a point. Sharma denied the AdU offense entry as the middle blocker ushered both teams into the first technical timeout with a kill block, 8-3.

The ladies in Green and White managed to maintain the upper hand after the timeout, with varied attacks coming from their wing spikers, creating a six-point rift, 12-6. An ace by Alba and a gentle push by Soreño stacked La Salle’s lead into eight. Ayesha Juegos, who came off the bench of Adamson, stopped the bleeding for the team with a kill from the opposite side, 14-7. Canino then furnished back-to-back points to preserve the team’s eight-point cushion, 17-9. Lorence Toring and Santiago tried to keep the Lady Falcons afloat, but the gritty collective effort from the Taft-based team pummeled them down as Alba scored from a spike and a solid block, 24-14. Taft tower Sharma secured the second-set win with a service ace, 25-14.

Fast Start

The Lady Spikers retained their momentum from the second set as they continued their dominant play into the third set. Canino, Gagate, and Dela Cruz all scorched the Adamson defense in the opening minutes, scoring multiple times each to give the Taft-based squad a lofty four-point lead, 8-4, heading into the technical timeout. After the break, Sharma picked up the load, delivering an emphatic block and a flawless service ace and extending La Salle’s cushion to five. Adamson would finally turn the tide at the midpoint of the set, as La Salle seemed to lose focus and give up two unforced errors. A sharp spike by Tubu brought the set within two points 13-11, forcing DLSU to burn a timeout after a 3-0 run by AdU.

Undeterred, the Lady Spikers went on a rampage of their own coming off the timeout, with the trio of Canino, Gagate, and Sharma powering a lengthy 8-3 run that would force AdU to burn one of their own timeouts. With another set win in sight, DLSU kept their focus and aggressively pushed the pace to close out the third set. Adamson put up an admirable effort in trying to mount a comeback with high effort plays, but Canino caught fire once again, scoring two crucial points off of spikes in crunch time to secure another set for DLSU, 25-16.

Prowess in court

With a two-set advantage, the Lady Spikers started strong with three consecutive points coming from an ace by Alba and spikes from Gagate, 3-0. It shortly became a four-point lead as Gagate gave a staredown, denying Cruz from the middle. Aprylie Tagsip, who replaced Toring, crushed the wall with a quick attack that cut the lead to three, 6-3. Tubu also unleashed a powerful spike from the opposite side, pushing Adamson an inch closer to DLSU. However, Canino discharged a cut shot to send the teams into the first technical timeout, 8-4.

The Taft-based squad exhibited their prowess as they continued to separate from the Falcons, whose errors piled up, 9-5. On top of that, Canino swung from the pipe to make it a five-point cushion. As she attempted to score another point from the same play, Tagsip single-handedly blocked Canino to curtail their deficit by one, 10-9. The persistence of the Lady Spikers was then showcased as they unleashed attacks and two-straight block points to force a 6-2 run, 16-11. 

With the momentum on their side, Canino continued to demolish the defense of Adamson with three more attacks, 20-13. Errors on the green side piled, allowing the Lady Falcons to clip the partition by four, 20-16. Nonetheless, Soreño, Sharma, and Gagate delivered varied spikes to fasten the De La Salle Lady Spikers conquest, 25-19.

Despite the big win, team captain Alba was determined not to let herself or her teammates get complacent, stating, “Siyempre masaya kami kasi nanalo, and ‘yun nga, siyempre focused kami sa upcoming games namin. ‘Di pa tapos.”  

(Of course I’m happy that we won, and of course, we’re focused on our upcoming games. We’re not yet finished.)

With one game left in round one of UAAP Season 85, Alba aims to keep the team in their winning ways, adding “Focus lang ulit sa sistema na pinapatakbo ni Coach Ramil (de Jesus), and ‘yon, makukuha naman namin (the win).”

(Just focus on the system that Coach Ramil (de Jesus) runs, and we can get [the win].)

The Lady Spikers will look to keep their perfect record when they face off against the NU Bulldogs Wednesday, March 22, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

DLSU 3 – Canino 21, Gagate 16, Sharma 12, Dela Cruz 10, Soreño 9, Alba 7

ADU 1 – Tubu 13, Santiago 12, Almonte 9, Cruz 6, Toring 5, Tagsip 2, Julegos 2. Romero 2

Set Scores: 22-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19

Julio Amir Tampis

By Julio Amir Tampis

Zedi Perez

By Zedi Perez

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