La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus doesn’t talk like a coach whose team is on an unbeaten run in UAAP women’s volleyball.
The temperamental mentor, after all, is always on the lookout for things to improve on, like a mad genius in a quest for perfection.
On Wednesday, it was no different.
After repulsing the gritty challenge of a young National U squad, 25-10, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22, De Jesus shifted focus away from the fact that his wards are now the solo leaders of Season 81’s tournament and shone a spotlight on La Salle’s frailties.
“I got frustrated by our errors, especially service errors,” De Jesus said in Filipino. “It’s like free throws in basketball. It’s all on us because you can’t blame the opposing team.”
What alarmed De Jesus was the fact that La Salle’s service game is one of its strongest suits.
“If you can’t make a service ace, it’s OK,” he said. “But at least send the serve in.”
After being held to a set-count tie after two frames, La Salle’s mix of veterans and youngsters rose to the occasion at Filoil Flying V Centre to finally snuff out the NU challenge.
Team captain Desiree Cheng, scoreless in the first two sets, finished with 14 points in the next two to lead the La Salle charge. Neophyte Jolina dela Cruz, who rose from the Palarong Pambansa to a starting spot with a UAAP powerhouse, added 12 points.
And new recruit Lourdes Clemente made her five points count when the Lady Spikers needed her.
NU, buoyed by a strong second set, turned to rookie Princess Robles, who anchored the Lady Bulldogs’ upset hopes.
“I saw NU’s strength. They receive well. Their floor defense is very good although there wasn’t much option in the offensive end,” De Jesus said. “But our problem was the errors.”
The Lady Spikers threw away 25 points on unforced errors, among them from the service area.
“I told them that already. They must respect NU because I saw their (Lady Bulldogs) game against UE. They are a solid team,” De Jesus added.
Fortunately for La Salle, NU committed even more errors, 31, which was understandable for a team made up of six rookies.
Ivy Lacsina added 16 points, while veteran Audrey Paran chalked up 11 for the Lady Bulldogs, who looked sharp in the second set with their edge in attack points, 15-7, and service aces, 3-0.
But La Salle’s depth and experience wore down the Lady Bulldogs as May Luna finished with 14 and Aduke Ogunsanya had 13.
NU dropped to 0-3, the same record now sported by Adamson, which lost in the later game to University of the East, 20-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-22.
The Lady Warriors climbed to 1-2.
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