La Salle returns to UAAP Finals, eliminates Eya Laure-led UST | Inquirer Sports

La Salle returns to UAAP Finals, eliminates Eya Laure-led UST

/ 04:41 PM May 03, 2023

Angel Canino La Salle UAAP Season 85 Final Four

Angel Canino and La Salle celebrate during a game against UST in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball Final Four. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—La Salle exacted sweet revenge on University of Santo Tomas when it mattered most, 26-24, 25-22, 20-25, 25-19, to book its second straight trip to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Pitted against the Tigresses who dealt their lone loss in Season 85 and shattered their “four-peat” bid in the Final Four four years ago, the Lady Spikers leaned on rookie sensation Angel Canino to get back at the Eya Laure-led team and earn a shot at reclaiming the championship, which it hasn’t won since 2018.


Canino and the Lady Spikers didn’t waste their twice-to-beat advantage, eliminating No. 4 UST for the team’s 20th finals appearance under 11-time champion coach Ramil De Jesus.


La Salle will face the winner of the other Final Four match between the twice-to-beat National University and Adamson. The Lady Spikers got swept by the Lady Bulldogs in the Season 84 Finals last year as the latter completed a perfect 16-0 season.

Canino rose to the occasion in her first Final Four with a game-high 19 points, hitting 18 attacks, and delivered 10 digs as she received MVP chants from the La Salle faithful out of the 6,694 gate attendance at the Big Dome during the closing moments of the fourth set.

“I’m so proud of the team because we went through a lot just to reach this place,” said Canino, who is tipped to win the Rookie of the year award and also a Season MVP candidate.

Libero Justine Jazareno was everywhere for the Lady Spikers with 22 digs and 16 excellent receptions. Jolina Dela Cruz was also instrumental with 10 points and six receptions. Thea Gagate finished with nine points including five blocks highlighted by the game-winning block on Milena Alessandrini to end the two-hour and 40-minute game.

Alleiah Malaluan also scored nine points, providing the spark from the bench, while Shevana Laput chipped in eight points as a starter.

“We’re happy because we were able to redeem our loss in the second round. We’re back in the finals but the job is not yet done. It’s still a long way to go so we have to keep on training, improving, and working on our lapses,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo, speaking for head coach De Jesus.


La Salle lost steam after edging out UST in the first two sets as the Tigresses got their act together in the third frame with a rousing 19-10 start but the Lady Spikers trimmed the deficit to just two, 20-22, after back-to-back errors from Laure and Pia Abu only for Baby Jyne Sorena to overcook her attack.

Regina Jurado put UST at set point, 24-20 before Imee Hernandez blocked Jolina dela Cruz to force another set.

The Lady Spikers caught fire in the fourth set as Canino nailed back-to-back kills to pull away with a 21-13 spread but the Tigresses refused to back down with Alessandrini and Imee Hernandez cutting it down to just four, 23-19. Malaluan nailed a cross-court hit to put La Salle at match point, 24-19, before Gagate’s game-winning block.

UST settled for fourth place, missing the Finals for the second straight season as Eya Laure’s all-around effort of 15 points, 12 digs, and 11 receptions went for naught.

Hernandez had 12 points off nine attacks, two blocks, and an ace, while Alessandrini and Jurado added eight markers each.

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Laure is still uncertain if she will be coming back for one more season, while Alessandrini played her last UAAP game.


UAAP: La Salle’s Alleiah Malaluan slowly finding confidence as Final Four nears

UAAP: La Salle crushes UE for best elimination round finish since Season 76

TAGS: Angel Canino, Eya Laure, La Salle Lady Spikers, UAAP Season 85, UST Tigresses

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