Lady Spikers take 1-0 lead
One errant call that went La Salle’s way was all it took to give the Lady Spikers the break they needed Tuesday night to move closer to a back-to-back UAAP women’s volleyball championship.
Riding on a questionable call that came at the right moment—depending on which side of the venue you were seated—La Salle climbed back from a set down to deflate Ateneo, 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-20 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
In winning over the Lady Eagles for the first time this season, the Lady Spikers closed in on the title after taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three title series.
Game 2 is on Saturday also at the Big Dome.
La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus agreed that a Michelle Morente hit ruled wide by the referees was a bad call—replays showed the ball brush the arms of La Salle’s Aduke Ogunsanya.
But De Jesus is not complaining, not when he needed every possible break after La Salle dropped two painful losses to Ateneo in the elimination round.
“It’s only the first time we got a favorable call,” said De Jesus, in Filipino, of the call in the second set that allowed La Salle to go from 17-22 down to a 23-22 lead as Ateneo went on a debilitating tailspin.
“That was a judgment call and who are we to question it?” the La Salle coach added.
Now that La Salle has proven to itself that it can beat Ateneo this season, the Lady Spikers hope to end their quest for a title on Saturday.
“Yes,” graduating setter Kim Fajardo shot back quickly when asked if Game 2 will be her final game in a La Salle jersey.
Fajardo, who is set to finish her master’s degree, served as the leader inside the court as usual, making 37 excellent sets aside from scoring 10 points, seven on aces.
“Even when we were trailing by a big margin I never lost trust on my teammates,” said Fajardo. “I want to win it for them and I want to win it for the school.”
Ernestine Tiamzon topscored with 15 points for La Salle, which got precious points from Kim Kiana Dy, who wound up with 14.
“I guess there was some hugot factor on our side because we hadn’t won against Ateneo in the eliminations,” said Dy.
The loss was only Ateneo’s second this season after a March 22 setback to National University during the elimination round.
Earlier, Ateneo took Game 1 of its men’s finals series against NU after scoring a 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13. Marck Espejo topscored with 29.
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