La Salle cruises past NU to gain for 5th straight finals stintBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion De La Salle gave National University a rude welcome in its first trip to the Final Four.
The Lady Archers banked on their experience to whip the Lady Bulldogs, 25-18, 25-23, 25-18, Saturday to seize its fifth straight Finals appearance in the UAAP Season 75 women’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Mataas ang adrenaline ng both teams. Marami lang naging errors ng NU hanggang sa tumaas na ang kumpiyansa namin,” said DLSU head coach Ramil de Jesus.
Four Lady Archers were in double-figures with Ara Galang’s 15 points leading the way.
Sophomore standout Mika Reyes added 14 points while reigning MVP Abi Maraño and Michelle Gumabao had 11 and 10 points respectively.
Dindin Santiago was NU’s lone bright spot with a game-high 19 points, including four consecutive points early in the third set that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 6-5 lead.
Aiko Urdas kept NU in the lead with an ace, 10-9.
But it was all La Salle from that point on.
The Lady Archers, who racked up their 14th win in a row since dropping their first game of the season, put the game out of reach with a 10-0 blast to lead, 19-0.
Galang scored four during that blistering run, including a well-placed hit to end a long rally-making it, 15-0.
NU, which beat perennial powerhouse University of anto Tomas for the last Final Four slot, showed it can hang with La alle as it led, 16-12, in the second set.
“Naging matamlay ang floor defense namin and sinabi ko lang na yung mga unforced errors hindi na dapat nangyayari yun,” said de Jesus.
La Salle regrouped just in time to knot it at 20 before scoring at the defensive end to complete its comeback.
NU spiker Cai Nepomuceno played her last game with four points.