La Salle’s sweep of old tormentor NU ‘big confidence booster’
MANILA, Philippines — After a masterful straight-set win just a few days ago, La Salle was ready for the adjustments of National University and it showed in another win over the defending champions in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
In just a span of four days, the Lady Spikers dented the Lady Bulldogs’ armor with a consistently dominant showing against the same team that beat them for four straight matches–including the Season 84 Finals.
But unlike in their lopsided first-round meeting, NU and champion coach Karl Dimaculangan made La Salle work harder this time only to turn up the same straight-set results that gave returning Ramil De Jesus a fitting comeback after missing the first seven games.
“They made some adjustments. But we told the team to be ready for any adjustments because NU won’t let us win easily again. Although winning in straight sets wasn’t expected, we were able to prevail in the tight first two sets,” Orcullo said in Filipino after the 26-24, 26-24, 25-16 win.
“We relaxed a bit in the end. But the eagerness of the players was there.”
Canino, who scored 15 points to lead the way again for La Salle, said they simply stuck to their system and trusted each other.
“Of course, we already faced them so they will make adjustments and show a different game plan. We also made some changes in our game plan but we stuck to the system and trusted ourselves,” the rookie said.
For Jolina Dela Cruz, sending NU to its first back-to-back losses since 2019 and giving La Salle its best start since Season 76 is a big boost for their confidence, especially with De Jesus’ comeback.
“It boosts the confidence of each of us. Because coach Ramil said it is rare to be given a chance to start 8-0 and sweep the first round. So we grabbed the opportunity to boost our confidence,” said Dela Cruz in Filipino.
La Salle had a scary moment early in the game when Leila Cruz injured her right knee in the first set but she was able to walk on her own to return to the bench. In her absence, Baby Jyne Soreno stepped up with four points.
“Coach Ramil told us that Ate Leila can handle it. So we should also handle ourselves inside the court and keep on fighting. Because when somebody is down, we have to step up,” Canino said.
“We didn’t let it affect our game. We also trust Baby Jyne so we didn’t worry about the outcome of the game,” Dela Cruz.
Orcullo said Cruz will have her knee checked after the game.
La Salle eyes its ninth win against Far Eastern University on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.