De La Salle University pulled off a 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 win against University of Sto. Tomas, inching closer to a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The Lady Spikers kept their resolve denying the upset-conscious Golden Tigresses en route to an improved win-loss record of 10-2.
Despite a six-game winning streak, La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus admonished his wards’ subpar performance after a 15-day layoff.
“This is the problem of our team. When we undergo a long break, we become a bit rusty,” said De Jesus.
“We had many unforced errors. It looked like the players were unfamiliar of each other inside the court. Well, at least, what’s important is the result. We survived in a close game,” he added.
Kim Dy topscored for La Salle with 12 points on eight attacks and four blocks while Majoy Baron chipped in nine markers.
La Salle erased an early five-point deficit before Desiree Cheng hit an ace and Cherry Rondina misfired, giving the opening set to the Lady Spikers.
The Taft-based volleybelles foiled a late fightback from the pesky España squad to seize the win.
Rondina finished with a game-high 23 points while Milena Alessandrini added 10 markers for the Tigresses, who slid to 4-9.
UST was already eliminated even before the match as National University (NU) arrested a five-game losing skid and secured at least a playoff for the last Final Four spot after posting a 26-24, 26-24, 25-20 victory over also-ran University of the East (UE).
Team skipper Jaja Santiago erupted for 22 points anchored on 18 spikes as the Lady Bulldogs finally won a game in the second round. More importantly, National U improved to 7-6—one win away from clinching the last semifinals berth.
“I’m happy that we’re slowly getting back our good teamwork and the individual effort as well,” said Santiago.
Risa Sato recovered from a scoreless outing as she registered 13 points while Jasmine Nabor shone with her 41 excellent sets in NU’s win that booted University of the Philippines and UST out of the playoff race.
Mary Ann Mendrez scored 14 points and Shaya Adorador had 11 markers for the Lady Red Warriors, who fell deeper down the cellar with a 2-10 card.
Meanwhile, in the men’s action, Final Four-bound NU stepped closer to a bagging twice-to-beat bonus as it walloped the winless UE, 25-16, 25-23, 25-13.
The Bulldogs seized the solo lead anew with an 11-2 sheet while the Red Warriors fell to their 12th defeat in as many games.
In the other game, Far Eastern University also boosted its chance for a top two finish after tripping Adamson University, 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20.
The Tamaraws improved to 10-2 joining Ateneo De Manila University at No. 2. The Falcons failed to move closer to securing the last semifinal slot as they dropped to 6-7.