UAAP: La Salle repeats over NU in coach Ramil de Jesus’ return
MANILA, Philippines–La Salle braced itself for a far more complex and grueling task ahead in a rematch with defending champion National University.
The Lady Spikers saw it coming and doubled down in replicating the winning act over the Lady Bulldogs with authority, 26-24, 26-24, 25-16, to keep their record unblemished on Saturday at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball.
“We came out ready for the adjustments that they made. We know it won’t be easy, but again we didn’t expect to end it in three sets,’’ said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo.
Angel Canino had 15 points, highlighted by 13 attacks and Jolina Dela Cruz added 12 points, three blocks and nine receptions and Marionne Alba tossed 16 excellent sets for the Lady Spikers, who extended their unbeaten streak to eight games.
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With La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus back in calling the shots, the Lady Spikers were on target right at the opening set, surviving an intense back-and-forth foray that boiled down to Fifi Sharma sneaking in a push and Canino sending her jump serve to an unsuspecting Jennifer Nierva for set point.
“The presence of coach Ramil boosted the confidence of our team. We are excited with his return,’’ said Dela Cruz.
It was enough to keep Leila Cruz relieved somehow after hurting her right knee upon landing midway in the first set. Curled and writhing in pain, Cruz was carried off the court, never to see floor time again.
La Salle found itself trailing again at the onset of the second frame, but Canino’s push and Baby Jane Soreno’s ace knotted the count at six, quickly shifting the tide in their favor.
Back-to-back air strikes by Canino and another pair of timely attacks from Dela Cruz finally put the Lady Spikers ahead, an advantage they protected despite the NU fightback anchored on Evangeline Alinsug and Bella Belen.
The Lady Bulldogs actually shot themselves in the foot when Nierva over-received, gifting Sharma with an easy push that secured La Salle a 2-0 headroom.
Staring at another straight-sets debacle, the Lady Bulldogs simply crumbled in the face of La Salle’s unparalleled quickness and hostility at the net in the final frame with Canino once again delivering most of the killer blows.
Alinsug committed another service error and Canino ended the match with a crushing crosscourt spike.
Just three days ago, the Lady Spikers authored a similar dominant win over the Lady Bulldogs in straight sets.
NU fell into a tie at third with the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (5-3), leaving the Adamson Lady Falcons alone at second spot with a 6-2 record.