UAAP: Lady Spikers pierce through the Falcons in season opener sweep

The DLSU Lady Spikers proved their champion status, ruling over the AdU Lady Falcons in a sweep, 25-16, 25-16, 25-18, and kicking off UAAP Season 86 on a high note earlier tonight, February 17, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Last season’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Angel Canino led her team to the first victory of the season with 14 points, 11 attacks, and three blocks, followed by Shevana Laput, who posted 11 points. The middle blocker tandem of Amie Provido and Thea Gagate also chipped in eight points each.

From the other side of the net, Ma. Rochelle Lalongisip was the top scorer for the Lady Falcons with six points, echoed by team captain Lucille Almonte, who also scored six. Jen Villegas and Antonette Adolfo each brought in four markers. 

Asserting dominance

Thea Gagate opened the season’s first game for La Salle with a quick attack, tying the game at 1-all. After an error from Adamson, Coronel converted an ace early in the set, followed by attacks from the team’s key holdovers, Laput and Canino, who gave La Salle the lead with crosscourt and down-the-line attacks, 10-3. To contribute to the defense, the Taft Towers made their presence felt—sealing the net from the offense of the Lady Falcons. This gave the Lady Spikers an advantage heading into the first technical timeout after a running attack from Provido, 16-8.

Coming off the break, the Lady Spikers exhibited a good offensive front, scoring from most of their attacks while slowly adjusting their defense. After a quick attack from Provido, Canino closed out the latter part of the set, sending a bullet across the net and an off-the-block capturing the opening set, 25-16.

Keeping the ball in the air

After taking on the first set of the match, the Green-and-White asserted their dominance and consistently delivered in the second set. Malaluan earned the first point with a strong attack, followed by Canino targeting empty spots in the defense of Adamson—bringing the game to 2-all. The Lady Falcons also had their fair share of errors, bringing freebies to the Lady Spikers. Raising the scoreboard was Provido, who notably had an eye on the back row, taking advantage of AdU’s loose ends, which brought La Salle to a two-point lead, 6-4. Towering behind the net was Canino, denying entry with her solid blocks with Gagate. 

The Lady Spikers dominated the second set with their amazing floor defense and secured the scoreboard from the net. Malaluan raised the digits with a seven-point lead with her crosscourt attack, 14-7. Following this, the team in blue seemingly caught up and narrowed the gap to 14-10, causing Head Coach Ramil de Jesus to call for a timeout to regroup his players. This kept the Lady Spikers alive and ensured they would return on track to continue with the momentum they had from the start of the set. 

The shaky floor defense of the Lady Falcons earned a point for Laput with a swift crosscourt attack. Carrying on with the momentum on their side, the Lady Spikers ended a rally with a Canino block, sending the ball back to the other side of the net—causing Adamson to call a timeout, 21-14. Following a long-awaited substitution, Maicah Larroza entered the floor, with the crowd’s cheers being felt throughout the arena. Concluding the second set was a surprise attack from Coronel, and finally, with Laput from the net, the defending champions once again took the set, 25-16.

Tough towers

Challenged by Adamson’s pesky plays, the Lady Spikers could not pull away early in the third set as they struggled with consecutive unforced errors. Nevertheless, La Salle entered the first technical timeout leading by a point, 8-7. Towering the scene, Gagate and Laput did not fail to show what DLSU is known for—their defensive blockings.

Canino once again blazed the trail for La Salle, sending bullets across the net and widening the gap in the scoreboard by six, 18-12. Moreover, substitutions took place in the third set, with Baby Jyne Soreño and Julyana Tolentino coming off the bench and directly impacting the team. Soreño converted with a crosscourt attack, which was then backed up by rookie Lilay del Castillo who also came into action, scoring from a quick attack and putting her team in set point. A crucial service error from the side Adamson finished the match in favor of La Salle, 25-18.

Canino, after a gutsy performance in today’s game, expressed her happiness, “Lumalabas po yung winork hard namin off-season.“ She further explained that the team must work one game at a time to reach their goal.

(Everything that we worked hard on during the off-season is finally paying off.)

On the same note, middle blocker Provido shared that her mindset for each game is to deliver despite having key losses. “Di madaling palitan yung spot ko and happy ako na nakakadeliver ako,” she added.

(It’s not easy to be put in my spot now, and I’m happy that I was able to deliver.)

Head Coach de Jesus also emphasized how losing key players gave a difficult transition for the team, “‘yung maganda lang ay meron kang ite-train na bago at ready punan yung ganung position.” He also pointed out how commercial teams are looking for new recruits, and polishing new players is a big challenge for the coaching staff.

(What’s nice is that you have new players to train who are ready to fill positions like those.)

After this three-set cruise, the DLSU Lady Spikers aims to tally another win against the FEU Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday, February 21, at 2 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The Scores:

DLSU 3 – Canino 14, Laput 11, Provido 8, Gagate 8, Malaluan 7, Coronel 5, Soreño 1, Del Castillo 1, De Leon 0, Larroza 0, Tolentino 0

AdU 0 – Lalongisip 6, Almonte 6, Villegas 4, Adolfo 4, Ancheta 3, Juegos 3, Alcantara 2, Aljibe 2, Verdeflor 1, Yandoc 1, Bascon 1

Set Scores – 25-16, 25-16, 25-18

Ysa Bakabak

By Ysa Bakabak

Jamie Alberto

By Jamie Alberto

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