La Salle tries to close out the best-of-three championship series with National University as the two winningest teams this season tangle today, Sunday in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament.

14 May 2023

Games Sunday
(Mall of Asia Arena)
2 p.m. – UST vs NU (Men’s Finals)
4 p.m. – NU vs DLSU (Women’s Finals)

MANILA – This is it.

La Salle tries to close out the best-of-three championship series with National University as the two winningest teams this season tangle today, Sunday in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

The Lady Spikers are pinning to end the best-of-three title series at 4 p.m. with a bang and bring home the bacon before an anticipated sellout crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena and to avenge their Finals defeat to the Lady Bulldogs last year.

And while its women’s side is trying to save its season, NU’s decorated men’s squad aims to chalk up a perfect 16-0 campaign against the University of Santo Tomas at 2 p.m.

La Salle is decidedly the league’s third most successful women’s volleyball program. It’s now gunning for a 12th championship, but its first since 2018.

A victory and a crown would allow La Salle to close in on the UST Tigresses, considered the second-winningest squad with 14 crowns in the prestigious school league.

Thus far, Far Eastern University stay up ahead with 29 championships, before a long title drought struck the Lady Tams since the 2007-08 season.

The odds are favorably stacked on La Salle’s side. It has the psychological advantage so to speak as the Spikers have not absorbed back-to-back setbacks this season.

The Lady Spikers showed grit in beating the Lady Bulldogs, 18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13, in last Sunday’s series opener, going 3-0 in their head-to-head this year.

NU is facing the tough task of becoming the first team to win the title after trailing 0-1 in the series, a trick which Ateneo last did in 2019 against UST.

The fitness of middle blocker Sheena Toring, who accidentally landed on La Salle counterpart Thea Gagate’s foot and hurt her left knee late in the fifth set, in Game 2 remains to be seen. The Lady Bulldogs remained mum on Toring’s status in the crucial match.

Whether Toring will suit up or not, La Salle is ready for any eventuality.

Blocking will be the Lady Spikers’ best friend.

One of the main ingredients in La Salle’s championship runs in the past, the Taft-based side logged 16 blocks in Game 1, with Gagate accounting for four, Em Provido and Shevana Laput chipping in three apiece and Alleiah Malaluan and Jolina dela Cruz producing two.

As libero Justine Jazareno is doing well in her first ball and receives, setter Mars Alba needs to step up in her playmaking for the Lady Spikers, as her rival Camilla Lamina delivered a better outing.

NU is looking forward to its third option Vangie Alinsug to elevate her level of play several notches higher to back up reigning MVP Mhicaela Belen and Alyssa Solomon, and give La Salle’s defense a headache.

In men’s action, the Bulldogs hope to learn the lessons of last Wednesday’s close 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 29-31, 15-11 victory over the Golden Spikers that extended their perfect run to 15 matches.

Eyeing a three-peat, NU is seeking a fifth title overall to become the fourth-winningest program behind FEU’s 29, UST’s 19, and University of the East’s 14.