UAAP volleyball: La Salle boots out UST from title race
The La Salle Lady Spikers celebrate after scoring against the UST Tigresses. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
Ateneo defeats UE
MANILA, Philippines – Defending three-time champion De La Salle eliminated University of Santo Tomas (UST) with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-19 victory and stay on track for an outright Finals slot in UAAP Season 76 women's volleyball on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
Extending their perfect run to 12 games and 28 in all dating back to last season, the Lady Spikers are just six sets away from securing a slot in the championship round with a thrice-to-beat incentive to boot.
De La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus emphasized that his wards must avoid being complacent in the last two games and just play their usual game. "Kailangang magpursige pa. Ang goal namin ma-sweep, sana. We need to be focused," he said.
Playing with their backs against the wall, the Tigresses were very much in the fight in the opening set, losing only by two points, only to fade out in the next two. With its eighth setback in 12 games, UST, a 14-time titlist, will miss the Final Four for the second consecutive season.
Ara Galang led the Lady Spikers with 18 points, including three service aces and two blocks, while Mika Reyes had two blocks for an 11-hit outing. Pam Lastimosa and Carmela Tunay combined for 20 markers for the Tigresses.
Also on Saturday, Ateneo clipped University of the East, 25-17, 25-12, 25-22, to assure itself of a playoff for the last semifinals berth.
Alyssa Valdez was in her usual form, firing five service aces to finish with 20 points. She collected seven digs, while Amy Ahomiro added 11 points, including three blocks for the Lady Eagles.
Now toting a 8-4 card, third-running Ateneo is now ahead by two games over FEU and Adamson, both holding 6-6 slates.
The Lady Eagles are eyeing their fifth consecutive post-season berth and the first under Thai coach Anusorn “Tai” Bundit.
Rookie Michelle Morente, making the most out of Marge Tejada's absence, contributed eight points for Ateneo. Shaya Adorador led the Lady Warriors with 11 hits, while Faith Bulan added five points and four digs.
In men's play, rookie Marck Espejo scattered 32 hits as Ateneo (10-3) downed University of the Philippines (4-9), 26-24, 25-27, 25-20, 25-21, to extend its winning streak to eight and move within a win of clinching the semifinals bonus, while Far Eastern University (9-4) beat UE (0-12), 29-27, 25-17, 25-20, to formally advance to the Final Four.