MANILA -- (UPDATED) Rookie Jolina dela Cruz shone as De La Salle University overpowered Adamson University in straight sets to bolster its Final 4 bid in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.
The Lady Spikers were rarely bothered in a 25-15, 25-18, 25-16 triumph over the Lady Falcons on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
With the win, La Salle improved to 8-3, putting them one step closer towards another semifinal appearance in the women's volleyball tournament. It was also the third straight victory for the three-time defending champions.
Adamson, for its part, suffered its seventh consecutive loss to drop to 1-10. The Lady Falcons are already out of the running for a spot in the semifinals, the fifth straight year that they missed the Final 4.
"Na-execute lang nila. Napigil nila 'yung attack ng Adamson," said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus after his team wrapped up the win in just an hour and 16 minutes.
"Alam naman natin na 'yung floor defense ng Adamson, hindi basta-basta. So kailangan namin sumabay lang," he added. "Makasabay lang kami ng kahit kaunti, okay na sabi ko sa mga bata."
After a comfortable win in the first frame, the Lady Spikers ran into some trouble in the second set due in part to their own unforced errors. Up 12-6, they gave up a 10-3 run to the Lady Falcons with their miscues accounting for five of those points for Adamson.
De Jesus was quick to right the ship in the technical timeout, and La Salle proceeded to win the next seven points of the set to take control, 22-16.
"May mga times na malayo 'yung score, tapos biglang didikit," the coach noted. "Sabi ko, hindi pwedeng ganoon. Kailangan, kung gagalaw tayo, sigurado at convincing na kaya natin kontrolin 'yung laro."
The defending champions cruised to victory in the third set, as La Salle warmed up for its showdown with archrival Ateneo de Manila University with a straight-sets win.
Dela Cruz put up 13 points on 9 kills, 2 blocks and 2 aces, while adding 10 digs in a solid all-around performance. Skipper Desiree Cheng added 11 points, as La Salle had a 34-24 lead in kills and a 10-3 advantage in blocks.
No Adamson player reached double-digits. Rookie Trisha Genesis and Bern Flora each scored 7 points. The Lady Falcons also gave up 26 points off their errors, however.
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