MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion La Salle overwhelmed Ateneo in the fifth set to complete a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6 comeback and snatch game one of the UAAP season 75 women’s volleyball on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
For the second time this season, the Lady Archers came back from a 0-2 set deficit against the Lady Eagles but went on to win the game.
So when his Lady Archers dug themselves in a similar hole, head coach Rami De Jesus knew what had to be done to get out.
“Ang sabi ko lang sa kanila magrelax lang, maging composed at maniwala lang sa sarili,” said De Jesus of the adjustments he made to get the Lady Archers back in the game.
Michelle Gumabao stepped up in the pivotal fourth set, scoring three of the last five points for La Salle and in the decisive fifth set, where the Lady Archers blasted their opponents.
And for Gumabao, what spelled the difference between the first two sets and the final three was their confidence.
“Alam namin na kami yung defending champion kami ang back to back champions, alam namin na kaya naming magperform at gumalaw,” said Gumabao.
“Nawala kami sa first two sets, naintimidate kami sa kalaban pero we all worked para makabalik,” she said, adding Alyssa Valdez’s quick transitions also stunned them.
A surplus of errors also nearly cost La Salle the game, wasting 48 big points while Ateneo only gave away 25.
Three others finished in double digits for La Salle with Ara Galang leading the way with 17 points as she kept on fighting to keep them in the game.
But Cydthealee Demecillo’s contributions, eight points, were invaluable as she helped pad her squad’s lead in the fifth set.
Only Alyssa Valdez and Fille Cainglet chipped in double digits, 17 and 14 in that order, for Ateneo, which managed to push La Salle out of its zone in the first two sets.
But the Lady Eagles lost their superb reception that kept La Salle at bay early in the game and succumbed to errors in the stretch.