MANILA, Philippines - La Salle survived another five-setter as the defending champions stopped tough National University side, 25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 25-13, 15-8, to snatch the solo lead in a slow-paced match in the UAAP Season 75 women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
"Maganda kasi lalong ma-tetest nila ang puso and personality inside the court. Okay for the team," said Lady Archers mentor Ramil de Jesus after notching their seventh win in eight matches.
It was second straight come-from-behind win this season by La Salle, which rallied from two sets down to upend erstwhile unbeaten Ateneo at the end of the first round.
Earlier, Maika Ortiz continued her consistent play as University of Santo Tomas overcame a shaky third set to subdue University of the Philippines, 26-24, 25-9, 19-25, 25-15, for a winning start on its second round campaign.
Now in third place, the Tigresses posted their fifth win in eight outings to keep within striking distance of the Lady Archers and the Lady Eagles.
La Salle sophomore Ara Galang had a career game, finishing with 21 points, 17 of which coming from attacks.
"Kailangan niyang mag-trabaho ng ganoon si Ara, kung hindi matatalo kami," said de Jesus.
The Lady Archers had to deal with the slow game of the Lady Bulldogs, who took two of the first three sets but faltered in the last two.
"Maganda ang inilaro ng NU kaya ang sinabi ko sa kanila sumabay na lang sa kanila. Maganda ang service receive and blocking nila," said de Jesus.
Reigning MVP Abigail Maraño and Mika Reyes added 13 points apiece while Michelle Gumabao had 10 hits for La Salle.
Dindin Santiago scored 19 points but was a non-factor in the deciding set while Cai Nepomuceno added 17 hits, including five blocks for the Lady Bulldogs.
NU dropped to fifth place with a 4-4 card.
Ortiz, who is playing her final season for UST, waxed hot with 16 hits, including five service aces.
"Consistent lagi si Maika (Ortiz)," said Tigresses mentor Odjie Mamon, who is hoping that his wards would level up their game going to the homestretch of the eliminations.
"I'm very much concerned pero wala akong magagawa dahil galing sa exam week. But our next assignment is La Salle so we should be playing at a higher level," he added.
Skipper Judy Caballejo scattered 13 spikes for a 15-point output and had seven digs while Carmela Tunay added 12 hits for UST.
Katherine Bersola tossed in 11 hits, including five blocks, and Liezchel Tiu chipped in 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Maroons.
UP, which won a set for the first time since its opening day triumph over University of the East, slid down further in the standings with a 1-7 record.
In the men’s division, Peter Torres scattered 17 of his 20 points from attacks as NU improved to 8-0 with a close 18-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-11 decision over UST (4-4), while Ronjay Galang’s 19 hits gave Adamson a 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15 victory over UE (1-7).