MANILA, Philippines — De La Salle banked on its solid defense to shut Ateneo down, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21, Saturday night in the UAAP Season 75 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Spikers turned what many expected to be another grueling five-setter reminiscent of their first round encounter to a one-sided affair in a match that had 19,638 fans in a frenzy at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Michelle Gumabao set the tone early for De La Salle, which clinched the no.1 seed after getting its 12th win in a row, scoring nine of her game-high 14 points in the opening set.
“We played with a high intensity. We were communicating well with each other,” said the veteran Gumabao, who also had two aces.
“Wala naman kaming ginawang special. Mas mataas lang siguro morale nila,” said DLSU head coach Ramil de Jesus. “Nakakatuwa kasi first time nangyari sa volleyball. Marami ang followers ng volleyball.”
La Salle had 18 blocks, six from Mika Reyes, who finished with 10 points, to offset its 27 errors as compared to Ateneo’s 25.
“Yun talaga pinaghandaan namin kung hindi kami naka-18 blocks baka humaba pa yung laro,” added de Jesus.
Ateneo had trouble breaking La Salle’s wall with leading scorer Alyssa Valdez, who came in averaging 21.2 points per game, held to just 10 points.
Despite La Salle’s impressive play, de Jesus still wants to see more from his team.
“Di pa ako satisfied, may isa pa kaming game,” he said.
Lady Spikers battled with complacency as they allowed the Lady Eagles to claw back from a 15-20 deficit and take a 21-20 lead in the third set on a kill by Dzi Gervacio.
That though was Ateneo’s last point.
Fille Cainglet’s attempt went short before Cyd Demecillo scored two straight to make it, 23-21, for La Salle.
Gretchen Ho’s spike was sent back by the net to seal La Salle’s win.