BORACAY, Philippines – There was no denying De La Salle Lady Spikers of their coronation this time.
Kim Fajardo and Ara Galang, members of the DLSU indoor volley team that suffered a heartbreaking loss in the UAAP, made sure it wouldn’t happen in yesterday’s Nestea Beach Volley women’s finals as they eked out a pulsating 15-21, 21-14, 17-15 triumph over Adamson to capture the tiara here.
DLSU fought back from a 5-12 deficit in the deciding third set and outdueled reigning UAAP beach volley queens Shiela Pineda and Amanda Villanueva in the down-the-wire chase for the diadem and P100,000 prize before a good-sized crowd that converged on the beach front.
University of Southern Philippines Foundation of Cebu shared the limelight by pocketing the men’s crown at the expense of giant-killer University of Mindanao Tagum, 21-13, 21-12.
Fajardo and Galang hit paydirt in their first team up in beach volley.
“No pressure for us, we’re just really enjoying the game,” said Galang, a former MVP in indoor play who debuted on sand in this island paradise.
Adamson appeared headed to an easy victory when it seized a 12-5 lead in the decider.
But cheered on by the crowd, DLSU willed itself back into the match and caught up with AdU at 13-all.
The Lady Falcons got on the hill with a kill by Villanueva but refusing to roll over and die, the Lady Spikers took the next two points to close in on championship point at 15-14.
Pineda knotted the count anew but the Lady Falcons suffered a meltdown that tipped the game in DLSU’s favor. Villanueva served the ball into the net and then Pineda sent her shot outside the sideline to hand the DLSU the championship point for free.
“When we went down by 12-5, we never gave up and told ourselves we can still pull it off,” said Fajardo.
It was also sweet revenge for DLSU, which bowed to AdU in the elims, 25-23, 21-16,16-14.
La Salle advanced to the finals by beating Southwestern U in the morning semis, 21-18, 21-14, while AdU ousted holders Central Philippines U, 21-14, 22-20.
USPF’s Edwin Ybanez and Edmar Bonono, meanwhile, kept the men’s crown against a Visayan squad with their straight-set disposal of UMT’s Hachaliah Gilbuena and Jhonrel Amora. UMT earlier nosed out titlist University of the Visayas, 26-24, 21-17.
Ybanez and Bonono quickly imposed their will on UMT, storming to an 18-10 lead in the opening frame. It was essentially a similar story in the second stanza, where USPF raced to a 17-10 tear.
UV’s Jade Becaldo and Mark Fernandez consoled themselves by taking third place via a 21-19, 21-15 disposal of Rommel Pepito and Relan Taneo of Cebuano rival Southwestern U.
Lady Cobras Floremel Rodriguez and Therese Rae Ramas beat the pair of Valerie Amar and Fiola Ceballos of dethroned titilist CPU, 21-18, 21-14, to place third in the distaff side.