Title or bust for top seed Lady Spikers vs champions
La Salle absorbed just a single loss throughout the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, but these No. 1-seeded Lady Spikers know all too well that their success will ultimately be defined by their ability to win it all.
And they begin shooting for that success on Sunday in the race-to-two finalé against defending champion National University (NU).
Game 1 starts at 4 p.m. with Alleiah Malaluan swearing that La Salle is now better equipped to finish the job it botched during last year’s encounter.
“Whoever you fish from our bench, you’re going to get production. That’s what people should expect from us,” she said. “Our bench is deep.”
As Malaluan reached for the Lady Spikers’ strengths, Angel Canino nodded her head as if to double down on the idea that La Salle is more than her recent string of splendid play.
The hands-down pick for this season’s top rookie award, Canino said that she would only find validation if La Salle emerges from the Finals triumphant.
“That has been the goal as a team—to become a champion. Not the individual awards. “It’s only by doing so that we can show what we are, what La Salle is about.”
Over the past 20 seasons, La Salle was the proverbial bar that many schools—including NU—tried to measure themselves against. The Lady Spikers program account for 10, or half of the championships throughout that span.
A return to its old throne is doable, according to Justine Jazareno, as long as La Salle continues to turn in the cutthroat play it used to get back to this stage—and to blank NU twice during the elimination phase.
“For me, we just have to stick to the system,” the Lady Spikers libero said. “We can see it has been effective, so we’re going to hold on to it.”
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University (FEU) is looking to ride its three-game tear when it goes up against idle University of Santo Tomas in the second round of the men’s stepladder.
Mark Calado, who starred for the Tamaraws in the conquest of La Salle, said that FEU’s faith in itself has spurred his squad to this point.
But against the No. 2-seed Golden Spikers, FEU will have to dig deep in the curtain-raiser set at 2 p.m.
A win by FEU will set up a rematch against National University, which won the last two editions of the men’s showcase before it was scratched thrice by the coronavirus pandemic.