La Salle takes NU’s best shot, rolls towards outright UAAP Finals berth
MANILA, Philippines — De La Salle University took National University’s best shot before responding with its own in a 14-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 win to sweep the elimination round and earn an outright championship berth in the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reigning co-MVPs Ara Galang and Abi Marańo carried much of the scoring load with 15 and 14 points, respectively for the Lady Spikers, who will be needing just two wins to bag their fourth straight title.
“When you enter the court with this kind of situation, the players are pressured. That was the best NU has played [this season], even in the second set they still hung on,” said DLSU head coach Ramil de Jesus Saturday night.
“The players just don’t want to lose the game,” he added.
The Lady Bulldogs threatened to take a 2-1 set lead before the Lady Spikers recovered from a 3-12 deficit in the third set behind Galang and Maraño.
Galang had five of La Salle’s seven unanswered points during a telling third-set run that turned a 13-18 deficit to a 20-18 edge after a block by Maraño.
“It’s just luck, the breaks of the game went in our favor,” downplayed de Jesus.
NU, led by Dindin Santiago’s 14, came close to stealing the second set after overcoming an 18-10 La Salle lead as it knotted the count at 24 before back-to-back errors by Carmin Aganon helped the Lady Spikers to escape.
The Lady Bulldogs were primed to avenge their first-round loss to the Lady Spikers after a dominating opening set.
La Salle though, seemed to have gotten an early wakeup call and was able to shake off its slow start.
“The players were a bit intimidated by NU in the first set,” acknowledged De Jesus.
But with the Lady Spikers able to take the Lady Bulldogs’ best punch and still rolled to their 30th straight win dating back to last season, the rest of the league have something to fear.
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