UAAP: Lady Spikers unable to avenge Round One loss despite Canino’s return, succumb to Golden Tigresses in four sets

The DLSU Lady Spikers fell to the fiery UST Golden Tigresses in a four-set heartbreaker,  25-22, 23-25, 16-25, 15-25, failing to secure a twice-to-beat advantage as they head toward the Final Four of the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball Tournament standing at third seed. 

Angeline Poyos led the ambush of the Tigresses in their victory with 22 total points, counting in three blocks and a service ace. Echoing her performance were Jonna Perdido with 19 markers and a service ace of her own and Regina Jurado who had 13 points alongside a rejection and two service aces.

Meanwhile, in the valiant effort, Shevana Laput put up a game-high 26 points for DLSU that included a block and two service aces. Angel Canino, on the other hand, had 13 markers—all of which came from attacks. In the lackluster team performance, no other Lady Spiker managed to earn more than six attack points.

Return of the MVP

The beginning of the match was far from ideal for the Lady Spikers. The Taft-based team gave up an early 3-0 Golden Tigresses run, including two won attacks by Poyos and a service ace by UST. It was a slow start for Coach Ramil de Jesus’ team, but the unexpected finally happened when the Green-and-White were down 5-3. Canino, the reigning Rookie of the Year-MVP, returned to the court for the first time since the Holy Week break following her arm injury. The La Salle faithful roared as it did not take long for Canino to score, earning DLSU’s first marker one rally later.

However, Poyos was left unfazed by the momentum-shifting substitution as UST’s opposite hitter continued her barrage of powerful attacks that challenged DLSU’s defense. On the other end, the duo of Canino and Laput created a healthy variation of scoring coming from different zones on the court. This battle of spikers, complemented by healthy supporting casts from both sides, kept the highly-anticipated Elimination Round rematch relatively close. True to this, the opening set included seven ties and seven lead changes.

When the score reached a 17-all deadlock, DLSU’s Canino and Laput and UST’s Poyos kept exchanging points down the stretch. But when the score was at 21-all, the Lady Spikers’ duo showcased superior resiliency and power alongside key receptions and rejections from the entire DLSU cast. La Salle ended the set on a dominant 4-1 scoring run, with three of those points coming from Laput. The Taft-based squad headed to the huddle with a 1-0 set lead, 25-22, with Canino and Laput combining for 15 of the Lady Spikers’ 25 markers.

Rattled on court   

Despite grabbing the first set in their favor, the DLSU Lady Spikers had a nip-and-tuck first few exchanges of points with their opponent from España. This was followed by Laput’s back-to-back markers off a crosscourt shot and an off-the-block hit from Canino to tie the match at 7-all. The Green-and-White trailed by a few points until Julia Coronel confused the blockers and found an open Laput, tying the match at 15-all. However, UST adjusted and entered the second technical timeout with a one-point advantage, 16-15. 

Coming off the break, La Salle’s blocking was inconsistent, as UST managed to score off-the-block attacks, punishing the floor defense of the Green-and-White. Still unable to defend their floor, Poyos continued to make quick work of Laput’s rattled reception at the back, 20-17. Due to these unforced errors, Head Coach de Jesus called for a timeout to regroup his squad’s reception and defense. 

The Lady Spikers’ momentum was rattled by a massive error from the side of UST, forcing Coach Kung Fu Reyes to call for a timeout of his own. This was followed by a service ace by Coronel, finally leveling the match at 22-all. However, DLSU failed to catch up to the Tigresses as another off-the-block hit from Poyos ended the second set in favor of her term, 25-23.

Losing momentum

The third set did not feature the same back-and-forth battles as those in the first two sets as the momentum started to shift toward the Golden Tigresses’ side. Immediately, the España-based squad made a statement with a 5-0 run against the DLSU defense that was a step slower. The Lady Spikers showcased urgency and came up with a 5-1 run of their own, keeping the score close by the first technical timeout of the set, trailing 8-6.

Despite this, DLSU lost their poise following the timeout as attack errors began to pile up for the Green-and-White. To the La Salle faithful’s disappointment, the defending champions fell behind by six points, 16-10. This deficit extended to as many as nine, marking the largest lead of the first three sets by either team when the scoreboard reached 21-12. The Lady Spikers, despite UST’s streak of errors, committed violations of their own, which broke many opportunities for a comeback. Ultimately, the Golden Tigresses were able to maintain their advantage, ending the set with a dominant 25-16 win over DLSU. The Taft-based team had an uncharacteristic seven attack points to UST’s 12–a reflection of La Salle’s noticeable repetitive broken plays.

Heartbreaking finish 

With the chants from the UST crowd ringing in the arena, the Lady Spikers opened up set four with an emphatic attack by Laput. Similar to the second set, both teams yet again went on a back-and-forth lead change, which was ended by La Salle who headed to the first technical timeout in the lead, 8-6. The Green-and-White maintained the lead until Perdido and Jurado went on a scoring spree, propelling UST to take the lead 13-10. The feisty Tigresses headed into the second technical timeout with a three-point advantage after a poor set from Coronel goes out of bounds, 16-13. 

Coming off the break, the España-based team went on a solid scoring rampage that La Salle could not find an answer for. Poyos, working on the defensive and offensive side of the court denied an attack from Alleiah Malaluan and scored consecutive markers—leaving La Salle in the dust, 19-13. As the game approached the 20-point mark, La Salle only managed to score two more points while the crowd that illuminated the arena with yellow started to put pressure on the Lady Spikers. After a gallant service ace from UST, the Green-and-White failed to secure a twice-to-beat advantage heading to the tail end of the tournament and ended their supposed redemption-filled game with a heart crushing four-set drubbing, 25-15. 

La Salle only managed to post a total of six blocks the entire game—which reflected UST’s gained advantage in punishing the Taft blockers’ defense at the net. The Tigresses made use of the arms of the blockers to convert off-the-block attacks in their favor and continued to abuse the rattled floor defense and ball reception of the Lady Spikers. Another huge factor that contributed in this loss was DLSU’s sloppy 26 unforced errors, which handed their opponent several freebies. 

Coming from this disheartening loss, the Lady Spikers aim their arrows for the last time as they attempt to bounce back as they face the same opponent in the Final Four of Season 86 with no confirmed date yet from the UAAP.

The Scores:

DLSU 1 -Laput 26, Canino 13, Gagate 7, Provido 6, Malaluan 3, Larroza 2, Coronel 2
UST 3 Poyos 22, Perdido 19, Jurado 13, Abbu 5, Carballo 5, Plaza 3, Gula 2, Banagua 1, Abellana 1

Set Scores – 25-22, 23-25, 16-25, 15-25

Tana Melgar

By Tana Melgar

Gab Ortiz

By Gab Ortiz

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