UAAP: Coach de Jesus, La Salle glad to gain separation in chase for semis bonus

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2019 08:28 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2019 03:24 AM

De La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus observes as the Lady Spikers play against the Ateneo Lady Eagles. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines—Count De La Salle University head coach Ramil de Jesus among those who were surprised at the Lady Spikers' quick victory over arch-rivals Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday night.

The defending champions needed just an hour and 28 minutes to defeat the Lady Eagles, 25-17, 25-13, 25-21, for their fourth straight victory of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.

In the process, La Salle clinched a semifinals seat and snapped the Lady Eagles' 10-match winning streak. They remain the only team to have beaten Ateneo this year, having also downed the Katipunan spikers in four sets in their first round meeting.

"Hindi ko inexpect na ganito kabilis matatapos yung game. Favor naman sa amin, nakakatuwa din," said de Jesus after the game. "Nag-laro ng maayos yung mga bata today, kaya siguro mas gusto nila manalo."

More than getting another win over their arch-rivals, however, de Jesus was glad that his team took one more step towards securing a twice-to-beat privilege in the Final 4.

At 9-3, the Lady Spikers are now one full game ahead of University of Santo Tomas (8-4) and Far Eastern University (8-4) in the chase for the No. 2 seed and the second semifinals bonus. Ateneo, at 10-2, needs just one more victory to get a twice-to-beat edge in the Final 4.

"Kailangan namin itong panalo na ito para at least lumayo kami sa mga nakadikit sa amin. Marami kaming nag-aagawan sa second place," said de Jesus, knowing that a loss would have dropped La Salle to a three-way logjam for second to fourth places.

"So sabi ko sa mga bata, kailangan natin 'to. Hindi na tayo matalo... hindi na dapat matalo para mas makalayo doon sa nakadikit na team like UST and FEU," he added.

"Sabi ko pilitin natin makuha yung second spot."

Even with the win over Ateneo, the Lady Spikers are not yet out of the woods. Both UST and FEU are breathing down their necks; the defending champions also have a date with the Lady Tamaraws in their final elimination round game. They will likely have to win both of their final assignments in order to secure a twice-to-beat advantage.

"We will not settle for this," said La Salle's Aduke Ogunsanya, who had 10 points in the win. "Kailangan pa namin i-push ang sarili namin, kasi may mabigat pa kaming kalaban."

La Salle won't play again until April 24, when they take on the also-ran University of the East Lady Warriors. According to de Jesus, they will train until April 17, then take a break until April 22.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.