LA SALLE DETHRONES ATENEO IN STRAIGHT SETS, SETS UP FINAL SERIES VS NU
De La Salle University (DLSU) dispatched rival Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), 25-19, 25-20, 25-23, late Thursday to barge into the championship of the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball at Mall of Asia Arena.
The La Salle Lady Spikers ended what could have been a fairy tale stepladder run of the Blue Eagles and set up a final series against the well-rested and undefeated NU Lady Bulldogs on Saturday, June 18 at 5 pm.
Rookie Leiah Malaluan paced La Salle’s aggressive attacks with 16 points from 15 attacks while Thea Gagate finished with 13 points off eight attacks, four blocks, and an ace, while Jolina dela Cruz also nailed 13 markers from 10 kills and three service aces, with her 13 excellent receptions.
La Salle opened the game with a commanding 25-19 in the first canto, then carried the momentum down the second set by leading by as much as four points, 14-10.
Faith Nisperos could only carry the Eagles as near as 20-22 before Fifi Sharma ignited the 3-0 finishing kick for the two-set lead.
Come the third set, it was a different fighting spirit for the Blue Eagles as they rallied to a 6-1 run to get to within one, 23-22, from a 22-15 deficit capped by a Jeycel delos Reyes ace.
Gagate got La Salle to match point but Erika Raagas kept Ateneo fighting with a spike for a 24-23 affair before Malaluan ended the Blue Eagles’ comeback attempt with the finishing blow.
“Nag-ready lang yung team and we talked about na the effort should be times two or times three para ma-stop yung Ateneo,” said assistant coach Benson Bocboc.
“Prepared tayo sa lahat ng ilalabas ng Ateneo and so far, nag-materialize naman and we got the 3-0 win,” he continued.
Nisperos was the lone Blue Eagle in double-digit scoring, finishing with 19 points from 17 hits, a block, and an ace, Raagas added nine points while graduating libero Dani Ravena ended her UAAP career with just seven excellent digs in the loss.