La Salle barges into ninth straight finals, ousts UST
De La Salle entered its ninth straight finals after taking down University of Santo Tomas, 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13, in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Spikers never needed to use their twice-to-beat luxury and will now wait for the winner between Ateneo and Far Eastern University in the other Final Four series.
After a long third set, the Lady Spikers immediately launched their arrows on the Golden Tigresses going on a 12-2 run on the fourth set lay the foundation for the final beatdown.
Mary Joy Baron then finished off the Golden Tigresses that sent the Lady Spikers to a prime spot to defend their title.
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Lady Spikers head coach Ramil De Jesus said their third set loss proved was actually the turning point as his wards regained focus to stop UST right away in the ensuing set.
“I told them that that’s not the way we should be playing if ever we want to return to the finals,” said De Jesus. “UST won’t just quit, and I want my team to have the sense of urgency.”
De Jesus added that his current batch of Lady Spikers wanted to show to all that they can return to the finals despite losing former players Mika Reyes, Ara Galang, and Cyd Demecillo.
“They want to prove to themselves that they can fill in the shoes left by Mika, Ara, and Cyd,” said De Jesus. “Besides they still have Kim [Fajardo] and I think they can exceed the achievements of those before them because they’re still improving.”
UST was able to take the third set behind the spirited effort of EJ Laure.
Laure sprained her right ankle with the Golden Tigresses holding a slim 6-3 lead in the penultimate set.
She then returned with her team leading 15-13, before skipper Cherry Rondina gave them the set with powerful middle hit, 26-24.
Fajardo was stellar for the Lady Spikers as she finished with 11 points, five came off service aces, and 39 excellent sets.
Baron had a game-high 17 points for La Salle while Tin Tiamzon and Kim Kianna Dy finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Desiree Cheng also finished in double figures for La Salle with 11.
Rondina led UST with 16 points with Laure and Ria Meneses putting up 14 and 10 points, respectively.