UAAP women’s volleyball: La Salle repeats over Ateneo, on track for No. 2 seed

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2019 05:33 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2019 03:24 AM

UAAP women’s volleyball: La Salle repeats over Ateneo, on track for No. 2 seed 1
DLSU players celebrate after a scoring a point against ADMU during the UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball Elimination Round held at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on April 13, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATED) De La Salle University put on a showcase of execution in dismantling Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday, thus clinching a Final 4 berth in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.

In front of nearly 16,000 fans at the Araneta Coliseum, the Lady Spikers overwhelmed the Lady Eagles, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, to become the second team to secure a spot in the semifinals.

La Salle improved to 9-3 in the tournament, and stayed on track for the No. 2 seed. In the chase for a semifinals bonus, the defending champions are now one game ahead of Far Eastern University and University of the Santo Tomas, which are tied for third and fourth with identical 8-4 records.

Moreover, La Salle snapped the Lady Eagles' 10-match winning streak, handing the spikers from Katipunan just their second loss of Season 81.

It was a repeat victory for the Lady Spikers, who had beaten their archrivals in four sets, 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, in the first round. Ateneo went on a massive winning streak since that loss on February 17, but still had no answers for the defending champions in their second round rematch.

La Salle is making its 11th consecutive Final 4 appearance. Ateneo dropped to 10-2 in the tournament; they are already assured of a spot in the semifinals and can still claim a twice-to-beat privilege.

"Hindi ko in-expect na ganitong kabilis matatapos ang game," admitted La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus. "Nag-laro ng maayos ang mga bata today, kaya siguro mas gusto nila manalo."

"Pride lang po talaga," said rookie Jolina dela Cruz, who had a game-high 14 points. "Siguro po, habang naglalaro kami, andoon na po 'yung pride na bawal kami matalo dito."

Lourdes Clemente and Aduke Ogunsanya each tallied 10 points, completely out-playing their Ateneo counterparts. The Lady Spikers had 37 kills in the game to the Lady Eagles' 27; more tellingly, Ateneo had no kill blocks in the match after entering as the UAAP's top blocking team.

The Lady Spikers showed their might right in the opening frame, when they cruised to a comfortable 25-17 victory while neutralizing Ateneo's formidable net defense. Their win in the second set was even more convincing: La Salle limited the Lady Eagles to just 3 kills, and their smart attacking allowed them to navigate Ateneo's blockers.

Only 10 unforced errors by La Salle kept Ateneo in the game, but the Lady Eagles also committed 10 miscues of their own.

The Lady Spikers were cruising to victory in the third frame, 22-16, when the Lady Eagles made their move. Ateneo scored five straight points, getting production from Bea de Leon and Ponggay Gaston; an ace by Maddie Madayag made it a one-point game, 21-22.

An over-reaching violation called on the Lady Eagles stopped the bleeding for La Salle, 23-21, but Gaston fired a hit against the La Salle blockers to trim the deficit again, 22-23. Lourdes Clemente put La Salle at match point, 24-22, off a running hit, but also committed a service error in the next rally that kept Ateneo alive.

That was as close as the Lady Eagles got, however. Ogunsanya capped her fine performance with a running hit that proved too strong for Ateneo libero Dani Ravena to dig.

"Kailangan namin itong panalo na ito, para at least lumayo kami," said de Jesus. "Hindi na dapat matalo, para makalayo tayo sa mga nakadikit na team, UST and FEU."

"Pipilitin namin makuha ang second spot," he stressed.

No player scored in double-digits for the Lady Eagles, with Gaston tallying 7 points, and De Leon, Madayag, and Kat Tolentino each scoring 6 markers. But the Lady Eagles' strengths were completely nullified, as they failed to register a single block in the contest.

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