UAAP: Even without Canino, La Salle jacks up playoff bonus hopes
MAKING DO WITHOUT ANGEL

Despite struggling with star’s absence, La Salle jacks up playoff bonus hopes

La Salle Lady Spikers

La Salle Lady Spikers in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

La Salle is feeling the gravity of Angel Canino’s absence.

Sure, the Lady Spikers have managed well without their star scorer, winning three of their four games without Canino. But there has been an obvious disarray in their movements on the floor and it showed anew on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

La Salle defeated eliminated Adamson, 17-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-22, but it is clear the defending champions are not in their best shape right now.

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READ: La Salle forces three-way tie on top in UAAP women’s volleyball

“The Lady Spikers’ movements have been tentative,” assistant coach Noel Orcullo said in Filipino. “They are waiting on each other and no one wants to lead so that’s the result.”

“When no one leads, the movement really becomes bad and it seems like they don’t know each other inside the court. Good thing we still won … a win is still a win even if it’s a bad game,” he added.

The Lady Spikers are locked in a tie with University of Santo Tomas (UST) and National University at 10-2 (win-loss), and have to face the Tigresses in a game that could ultimately decide which two teams get twice-to-beat protection in the Final Four.

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And La Salle saw its manpower woes worsen after opposite hitter Baby Jyne Soreno collided with libero Lyka de Leon while attempting a dig with the Falcons in control late in the first set.

Another woman down?

La Salle Lady Spikers' Jyne Soreño

La Salle Lady Spikers’ Jyne Soreño (left) in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

Soreno grimaced in pain and had to be helped out of the court while clutching on her left arm. After some time in the dugout, Soreno stood with her teammates on the sidelines with a sling on her arm.

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“There’s really still a lot to improve on [in our game] and we still have to continuously be making adjustments,” graduating setter and captain Julia Coronel said after orchestrating La Salle’s offense with 19 excellent sets.

Shevana Laput has done a great job pinch-hitting for Canino and against Adamson, she punched in 24 points from 22 attacks on a 38 percent attack efficiency. The 6-foot-2 opposite hitter, who was the go-to attacker for La Salle in the stretch, also scored two points off blocks.

READ: UAAP: La Salle could lose another key player with Jyne Soreño injured

“We just need to listen to what the coaches are saying and stick to our system and no matter what happens,” Laput said after a season-high performance. “If there’s an injury on the court or if we lose the set, if we go back to our system which has worked for over 20 years, we can win this.”

“When we give all our effort and when we play with our hearts as well as with our mind, we can do anything,” she added.

Graduating middle blocker Thea Gagate stood by Laput’s side with 12 points on nine attacks and three blocks while Alleiah Malaluan and Amie Provido finished with eight points each.

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The Lady Spikers face Ateneo next before the crucial battle against the Golden Tigresses.“We still have a few games left in this elimination and we want to make every game count,” Coronel said.

TAGS: Adamson, La Salle, UAAP women’s volleyball

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