UAAP: DLSU Lady Spikers take charge over Ateneo’s series of blunders to produce a determined three-set conquest

The DLSU Lady Spikers strengthened their bid for a twice-to-beat advantage as they completed a takedown of their rivals, the ADMU Blue Eagles, in straight sets, 25-12, 25-12, 25-18, earlier tonight, April 21, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Player of the Game Thea Gagate once again powered the Green-and-White past the Katipunan fiends as she put up 16 points off 10 attacks and six blocks on 71-percent attack efficiency. Shevana Laput also got to double digits with 15 points on 12 attacks and three blocks to complete the formidable Taft Towers.

For the Blue Eagles, Geezel Tsunashima and Lyann De Guzman both put up six points in an effort to counter La Salle. Meanwhile, Faye Nisperos followed suit with five points of her own.

Foot on the gas

The Lady Spikers did not waste any time in taking effect when they entered the court. Alleiah Malaluan, Laput, and Julia Coronel spearheaded La Salle’s early efforts, accumulating a point each, while the Blue Eagles remained with none. The Katipunan’s six seemed to have handed the majority of the points to La Salle on a platter, dismaying their side of the crowd with bouts of miscalculations and hesitations. An Ateneo blunder, which saw an attack land outside the court, gave DLSU an eight-point cushion, 10-2.

It was effortless for the Lady Spikers to assemble their momentum over their out-of-sync opponents. Ateneo’s series of slip-ups and unsuccessful challenges allowed the Lady Spikers, led by Laput, Amie Provido, and Gagate, to strike while the iron was hot, finalizing the score to 25-12.

Staying in control

In the second set, La Salle wasted no time tormenting Ateneo as they immediately built a two-point lead off Coronel’s service ace and Gagate’s stability in attacking and defending, 3-1. Despite good attacks from Sophia Buena and Tsunashima, the Lady Spikers were still able to widen the gap to four before the first technical timeout as the Blue Eagles’ errors gave way for the white shirts Provido, Laput, and Gagate to put on a collective effort in the attacking department, 8-4. After the break, the Green-and-White found easy points in Ateneo’s continuous errors. It opened up opportunities for Coronel to orchestrate the La Salle offense as Maicah Larroza and Malaluan joined the second set attack party, 16-8.

After the second technical timeout, the Lady Spikers’ proficiency in the attack and defense departments again bore fruit in their 4-1 run as the Blue Eagles continued to scramble for solutions to limit their rivals, 20-9. It seemed like Ateneo found a way to alleviate their problems as Buena’s attacks successfully got past the Lasallian defense. However, Coronel showed her composure as she successfully set up Provido and Larroza for three points before an Ateneo error ended the second set with a 13-point gap in favor of the Lady Spikers, 25-12.

Spirited dust-up

The immense crowd was asking the Lady Spikers for a third-set finish, putting pressure on both teams. Malaluan and Blue Eagle AC Miner started the third set with an equalizer. A sequence of attacks and responses kept putting the scoreboard equal. Larroza ended the deadlock at 5-4 with an attack that livened up the spectators. La Salle’s scoring grew to 9-4 after a chain of blows by Ateneo’s captain, Roma Doromal. 

The team from Taft was calculating even from the beginning. The Blue Eagles were inching closer, but Laput knew what she had to do and showcased three-straight successful attacks putting Ateneo behind by five markers, 18-13. Regardless, the Lady Spikers were unfazed, and Laput closed the match with a deciding attack, finalizing the scoresheet with 25-18. 

With another win added to their column, Assistant Coach Noel Orcullo praised the team’s effort in the game, but he admitted that he still remains unsatisfied with the minor lapses. “Sobrang ganda ng nilaro nila, pero may mga kaunting lapses towards the third set. Pero yung first two sets nakita namin ‘dun yung hinahanap namin na game sa kanila eh. So hopefully magtuloy-tuloy this coming Saturday para sa game against UST,” he said.

(They played very well today, but there were some lapses towards the end of the third set. But in the first two sets, we really saw the game we expected from them. So, hopefully, it will carry on this coming Saturday when we play against UST)

Meanwhile, Player of the Game Gagate added that the team is under no illusion that they are up for a hard fight for a top two spot. Explaining that the team takes on their schedule one game at a time, she shared, “Siyempre pinagtiyagaan talaga namin ‘to at mas nag-focus kami sa bawat laro kasi hindi naman basta-basta makukuha yung spot, so kailangan talaga tiyagain one game at a time.”

(We really worked hard for this and we really take it one game at a time since we know that we won’t get the top two spot easily, so we really need to work on it one game at a time.)

Following this win, the Lady Spikers now hold an 11-2 in the UAAP Season 86 standings, tied with the NU Bulldogs and UST Golden Tigresses. They take on the gutsy España-based team on Saturday, April 27, at 6 pm at the same venue, with the winner taking home a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

The Scores:

DLSU 3 – Gagate 16, Laput 15, Provido 7, Malaluan 6, Larroza 6, Coronel 4

ADMU 0 – Tsunashima 6, De Guzman 6, Nisperos 5, Buena 4, Miner 3, Pacia 2, Cortez 2, Sulit 1, Fujimoto 1

Set Scores: 25-12, 25-12, 25-18

Angel Migue

By Angel Migue

Daniel Quiroga

By Daniel Quiroga

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