UAAP volleyball: NU gains share of lead after toppling La Salle

UAAP volleyball: NU gains share of lead after toppling La Salle

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 10:09 PM April 14, 2024

NU Lady Bulldogs beat La Salle Lady Spikers UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball

NU Lady Bulldogs celebrate their win over the La Salle Lady Spikers in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Vangie Alinsug powered National University in a gut-wrenching 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 win over La Salle on Sunday night for a share of the lead in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

Alinsug scorched the defending champions’ end of the floor by unloading 22 points, with 10 of her 20 attacks coming in the pivotal fourth set that propelled the Lady Bulldogs on top in a favorable position to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

“We’ve been talking about this since last night and made it happen. We came all out for this,” said Alinsug following an imposing performance that included 10 digs, receptions and one ace.

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The Lady Bulldogs now possess an identical 10-2 record with the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses after finally clinching a win over the Lady Spikers, ending a five-game slide against them since the previous season.

Bella Belen fired 14 attacks in another well-rounded output spiked by seven digs and seven receptions while Alyssa Solomon contributed 13 attacks and one block.

“We just focused on ourselves prepared for this game thinking that Angel (Canino) will play,” said Belen.

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Canino, who tallied an average of 16.5 points, stayed at the sidelines for the third straight game after suffering cuts in her arms during the lenten break, her absence visibly missed by the Lady Spikers.

READ: UAAP: La Salle continues to miss Angel Canino’s presence

Shevana Laput had 21 points and Thea Gagate contributed 12 points and five blocks for the Lady Spikers, who lost for only the second time this season in 11 games.

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“They are the defending champions, so this is a huge confidence-booster for us. I think we’re peaking at the right time,” said Belen.

The Lady Bulldogs are in a three-cornered fight for the two twice-to-beat bonuses in the semifinals with the Tigresses and the Lady Spikers.

Hounded by a ton of errors, the Lady Bulldogs actually squandered a four-point lead near the end of the first set and paid dearly for it.

Consecutive miscues by Belen and Camilla Lamina paved the way for the Lady Spikers to seize control, 23-21, before another NU error and Laput’s strike off the blocking Alinsug did the Lady Bulldogs in.

It was another tense stretch in the second set as both teams exchanged projectiles throughout before the Lady Spikers wilted under pressure.

Belen’s crosscourt found the back row that tied the count at 23 before La Salle practically handed NU the set with two straight errors by Laput and Malaluan.

Laput had too much muscle on her spike that soared beyond the end line after which Alleiah Malaluan hit the net in an attack blunder that reset the match entering the third set.

The Lady Bulldogs rode on that momentum in the next frame, zooming ahead by as much as 10 points through the heroics of Solomon, Belen and the veteran Sheena Toring.

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Toring’s down-the-line hammer and another Malaluan attack error pushed NU within two prior to the twin strikes by Alinsug at set point.

Alinsug sustained the effort in the final set with several gutsy plays, including a crosscourt attack that put them on top, 22-21, after evading two blockers before dropping on the edge.

TAGS: NU Lady Bulldogs, UAAP Season 86

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