UAAP: Lady Spikers blitzkrieg UP to return to win column

The DLSU Lady Spikers bounced back from their previous UAAP Season 85 loss to the UST Golden Tigresses by returning to the win column with a sweep over the UP Fighting Maroons, 25-15, 25-16, 25-16, earlier today, April 16, at the PhilSports Arena. La Salle continues to sit on top of the Women’s Volleyball tournament standings with a 10-1 record.

In the win, Angel Canino led all scorers with 17 points from 13 attacks, two blocks, and two aces. Thea Gagate picked up the Player of the Game honors after recording 11 points on nine attacks and two blocks. Meanwhile, Shev Laput stepped up to tally nine points in her first UAAP start.

For the Fighting Maroons, Stephanie Bustrillo was the only scorer in double digits with 10 points, while middle Nina Ytang chipped in nine points.

Swift start

Despite their previous loss, top-seeded La Salle entered the court motivated as ever. DLSU found an early 4-0 lead by Canino and Gagate, before Ytang finally broke ground for UP through a swift attack, 4-1. Although the Fighting Maroons were finally gaining tempo, the Green and White kept their footing by capitalizing UP’s consistent errors and court mishaps. Ceasel Delos Santos initiated a challenge after seeing through La Salle’s strategy as Jewel Encarnacion landed an attack that the Lady Spikers let slip. After the successful challenge, DLSU failed to see another strike from UP’s Bustrillo, closing the Fighting Maroons’ deficit to four points at 14-10. 

As their wall of defense was shaken, the team from Taft regrouped through a time out. DLSU Head Coach Ramil De Jesus called out the Lady Spikers for losing synchrony on the court—mistiming blocks and missing charges from UP. Learning from their mistakes, the Lady Spikers took control of the ball once again. Bustrillo showed consistent efforts to fight DLSU’s control. However, it was no match for Canino’s versatility, showing off both her offensive and defensive prowess. In the end, UP handed the first set to the Lady Spikers by making an attack error, 25-15.

Foot on the gas

La Salle immediately picked up where they left off to open the second set, going on a blazing 3-0 run after a UP error, Mars Alba ace, and Gagate quick. The team from Diliman managed to tie up the scoreline at 4-all, but Canino opened the floodgates for the Green and White. The super rookie bookended a 4-0 run to send her side to the first technical timeout of the set leading, 8-4.

From that point onward, the Lady Spikers did not look back. A flurry of errors did not help UP’s chances of a comeback, as DLSU ran farther with the lead, 16-9, after Jolina Dela Cruz’s kill was too much for the opposing defense to handle. The Fighting Maroons tried to chip away the deficit, cutting the La Salle lead to six at 18-12, but Canino immediately responded to wrestle back the momentum.

The Green and White managed to punish UP’s poor receiving and errors, as they steadily reached set point  after Ethan Arce’s service error, 24-14. UP refused to back down, keeping the set alive with two consecutive points, but Gagate ended the frame on her own terms with a down-the-middle drive on a first hit, 25-16.

No brakes

The Fighting Maroons led the early minutes of the set at 0-2 as La Salle failed to chase after Bustrillo and Arce’s barrage. Adjusting their pace, UP kept up with DLSU by consistently equalizing the scoreboard. But the Lady Spikers knew how to outsmart the team from Diliman by exploiting unexpected plays, one of which was Alba’s power tip that created a four-point cushion for the team, 12-8. 

From then on, La Salle did not give the underdogs room to breathe. Gagate aired a hit that went over UP’s defenders, followed by Canino’s shutdown of a long rally to put UP six points behind at 18-12. The Fighting Maroons made do with La Salle’s minimal errors as Abilaine Gocs landed a spike in no man’s land, marking what would be her team’s last point, 19-16. With no hesitations, DLSU inched to their victory with an eight-point advantage until Jyne Soreño advanced La Salle to the match point and handed them the feat in three straight sets, 25-16.

Bouncing back from their first and only loss with a win, Coach Orcullo remarked how today’s victory has been made sweeter, “After the game nung sa UST, ‘yun din ‘yung sinabi sa kanila na at least papaano makaranas kung paano babangon.

(After the game with UST, were told that they get to could experience what it was like to redeem themselves)

Having been selected to start for the first time in her UAAP career, Laput celebrated, “It shows that I developed and improved as a player. The coaches trust my abilities to be played [in] the first six, so it’s great—and it’s an honor.” 

This victory saw the team from Taft record their 10th win in 11 games. After this dominating performance, the Lady Spikers will look to take their Round Two matchup against the title-contending AdU Soaring Falcons, who hold an 8-3 record, on Wednesday, April 19, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

DLSU 3 – Canino 17, Gagate 11, Laput 9, Sharma 6, Alba 3, Soreño 3, Provido 2

UP 0 – Bustrillo 10, Ytang 9, Goc 5, Arce 4, Encarnacion 3, Bertolano 2, Celis 1

Set Scores: 25-15, 25-16, 25-16

Angel Migue

By Angel Migue

Diego Manzano

By Diego Manzano

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