MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) De La Salle University is one step closer to securing a twice-to-beat privilege in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball Final 4.
This, after the Lady Spikers registered a straightforward 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 triumph over University of the East (UE) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
It was the fifth win in a row for the defending champions, hiking their record to 10-3 and assuring them of at least a playoff for a semis bonus in the Final 4.
"Actually lagi kong nire-remind 'yung mga bata na this is a very important game, huwag magre-relax, and huwag sobrang overconfident. Kasi nothing to lose 'yung UE," said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus after the game.
"And kanina, kita mo naman na kumbaga, first point hanggang 13 points, andoon 'yung kapit ng UE. So talagang gustong manalo," he added.
Rookie Jolina dela Cruz and Aduke Ogunsanya each scored 10 points for the Lady Spikers, while Michelle Cobb was credited with 20 excellent sets in the win. The defending champions put up 45 attack points in the win, which took them just an hour and 22 minutes.
After cruising to a 2-0 advantage, the Lady Spikers found themselves challenged in the third set with UE staying within striking distance. An offspeed kill by Judith Abil made it a two-point game, 19-17, in the closing stretch.
But the Lady Spikers won six of the last eight points of the match, with the little used Ynna Hatulan coming through with back-to-back points to seal the victory for La Salle.
"We're here to grab the opportunity para ma-seal na 'yung Top 2 seed," said Cobb after the game.
Abil finished with 16 points and 20 excellent receptions for UE, while Kath Arado had 15 digs and 12 excellent receptions of her own. Mean Mendrez did not play for the Lady Warriors in their penultimate game of the season.
UE dropped to 3-10 in the tournament heading into their showdown against Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday. La Salle, for its part, will try to secure the No. 2 seed against Far Eastern University, also on Sunday.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.