La Salle, UP score
A team from the lower half of the standings may have provided the drama, but there was no denying it was La Salle’s day Saturday.
Looking to move past a turbulent first round, the defending champion bucked a hard-start before finally cruising past erstwhile leader National University, 27-25, 27-25, 25-16 in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre.
And just like that, the Lady Spikers were back on top, forcing the Lady Bulldogs to share space at the penthouse with similar 6-2 cards.
La Salle was so clinical in the third set—after needing two nail-biters to take a 2-0 lead—that a game that started out so tensely ended anticlimactically. But thanks to University of the Philippines, there was a lot of reason to hold one’s breath in Saturday’s doubleheader.
The Lady Maroons kept their composure in a game where momentum swung like a pendulum gone wild before finally grounding the Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-18, 14-25, 25-19, 21-25, 16-14.
After catching their victims at 3-5, UP got back into Final Four discussion and setter Rem Cailing said the Lady Maroons will fan hard to keep those embers aglow.
“We just have to continue to train very hard and trust in each other and minimize our errors; I think we can do it,” said Cailing in Filipino.
La Salle has much more cushion in the race to the Final Four but Desiree Cheng, who keyed crucial rallies in the first two sets, believes the Lady Spikers can’t breathe easy just yet despite avenging a first-round loss to NU.
“It’s still a long way to go in the season. We have time to prepare and improve some more,” said Cheng. “Obviously this was not our A-game.”
In fact, La Salle could have easily gone into the third set down 0-2 if not for their defensive grit and the Lady Bulldogs’ crucial errors in the stretch.
“It was pressure on our part to catch up in the first two sets but as the coaches said we should remain calm and composed and not lose it,” said Cheng.
Cailing, meanwhile, pulled the right strings for UP, issuing 32 excellent sets that paved the way for Diana Carlos and Isa Molde to fire away with 22 and 18 points, respectively.