UAAP volleyball: La Salle thumps Ateneo behind Soreño, Malaluan strong showing
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle bucked a slow start to get the better of its rival Ateneo, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Baby Jyne Soreño and rookie Leiah Malaluan spelled the difference for the Lady Spikers in overcoming a first set defeat and outlasting the defending champions in two hours and 13 minutes.
Soreño, who was subbed in for starter Leila Cruz in the first set, sparked La Salle’s successful return in the UAAP from a two-year pandemic layoff with 17 points built on 13 attacks, three blocks and an ace.
Malaluan showed no fear in her collegiate debut as she delivered the crucial points in their second set fightback and put on the finishing touches in the fourth set as La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus scored his fourth straight win over Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro since 2019.
The rookie drilled 13 attacks for 15 points and displayed a great defensive effort with 15 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
“For us, usually the hardest game is the first one and it’s very important for us. Our team is new so we made all the adjustments,” said La Salle assistant coach Benson Bocboc, speaking for De Jesus. “We’re lucky enough to get the breaks of the second set and the players showed their composure in the third and fourth sets.”
Thea Gagate and Fifi Sharma were also instrumental with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jolina dela Cruz had nine markers, while libero Justine Jazareno protected the floor with 25 digs and 15 excellent receptions.
Faith Nisperos unleashed 24 points off 19 kills, three aces and two blocks only for Ateneo to start its title-retention bid off the wrong foot.
Lyann De Guzman chipped in 11 points, while team captain Dani Ravena had 23 digs and 11 receptions in the loss.