UAAP: La Salle sends FEU to 4th straight loss, earns share of 2nd spot

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2022 09:33 PM | Updated as of May 19 2022 09:54 PM

La Salle middle blocker Fifi Sharma attacks the defense of the FEU Lady Tamaraws in their UAAP Season 84 first round match. UAAP Media.
La Salle middle blocker Fifi Sharma attacks the defense of the FEU Lady Tamaraws in their UAAP Season 84 first round match. UAAP Media

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) De La Salle University recovered from a shaky third set to eventually overpower Far Eastern University in four frames, Thursday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Spikers couldn't complete a comeback in Set 3 but were quick to take control of the fourth en route to a 25-7, 25-12, 22-25, 25-11 victory. 

They ended the first round of UAAP Season 84 with a 5-2 win-loss record, good for a share of second place along with the University of Santo Tomas. The Lady Tamaraws, meanwhile, have now lost four straight games and are at 1-6 after the first round.

De La Salle rookie Alleiah Malaluan continued to shine for the Lady Spikers, tallying 16 points on 15 kills, while Thea Gagate had 14 points and fellow middle blocker Fifi Sharma contributed 13. The Lady Spikers had 59 kills to 30 for the Lady Tamaraws, and also got 28 free points off FEU's errors.

"Lumaban [ang FEU] ng third set, kaya nag-adjust tayo," said La Salle assistant coach Benson Bocboc. "Medyo bumagal tayo kasi nag-adapt tayo sa galaw ng kalaban, pero buti naman naka-recover at nakuha natin ang panalo."

The Lady Spikers were dominant in the first and second, but a revitalized FEU gave them a fight in the third set. Chenie Tagaod, in particular, found her rhythm in Set 3 and helped the Lady Tams take a 22-19 lead with a huge block on Malaluan.

FEU got within one after a hit by Gagate and a stop against Tagaod, but Jolina dela Cruz sent a serve long to push the Lady Tams ahead, 23-21. Gagate scored again to keep the Lady Spikers in the hunt, but Shiela Kiseo scored the last two points of the set to force a fourth.

"This game was very challenging," said Malaluan. "At first, okay kami, then parang naging complacent kami sa loob ng court noong third set, which is not a good thing."

"Kailangan namin mag-improve in that aspect," she added.

The Lady Spikers gave FEU no opportunity in Set 4, as they raced to a 10-5 lead off a Sharma hit and never looked back.

Tagaod was the lone player in double-digits for FEU, finishing with 11 points. Kiseo had nine markers, and skipper Lycha Ebon came off the bench anew to score six.