De La Salle University delivered the exact revenge to University of the Philippines (UP), sweeping the Diliman-based team in straight sets, 27-25, 25-11, 25-17, to move closer to a Final Four berth on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The defending champions exorcised the ghost that haunted them in the first round with a masterful demolition of the Lady Maroons, who have now lost five of their last six games.
La Salle stayed at No. 2 with 8-2 win-loss mark, a full-game behind league-leader Ateneo de Manila University (9-1).
UP, which pulled off the season’s first shocker with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 win against the reigning titlists in the first round, dropped to 5-5 and tied Far Eastern University at No. 4.
Majoy Baron paced La Salle with 16 points highlighted by six aces and three blocks while skipper Kim Fajardo had 58 excellent sets for the green and white squad.
Isa Molde had 12 points for the Lady Maroons, who shocked the tournament with a 4-0 start including an upset win over La Salle in the first round.
Meanwhile, National University survived an erratic performance from its liberos and posted a shaky 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 win over University of the East (UE) to tie University of Santo Tomas at third spot with 6-4 win-loss mark.
Jaja Santiago and Jorelle Singh came through in the fourth set for the Lady Bulldogs to deny the pesky Lady Warriors in forcing a fifth set as NU salvaged the much-needed win.
Santiago had a game-high 23 points on 20 attacks while Singh added 17 markers to lead the squad of head coach Roger Gorayeb, who was dismayed with their defensive performance in the match that lasted one hour and 48 minutes.
“You play defense one thousand times, not just once,” said the visibly upset Gorayeb as he opted to play without a libero in the fourth set.
“The players are thinking a lot of things on the court and the libero is there for the receive and play defense. But they are very erratic,” added Gorayeb.
After coasting to a first-set win, NU found UE a tough nut to crack in the second set and the wards of head coach Francis Vicente were poised of tying the match after leading at 18-11.
But the Lady Bulldogs showed poise and slowly cut the lead en route to a 25-21 second set win.
The Lady Warriors rebounded in the third set and pulled off a 25-22 lead to stay in the game and fought NU toe to toe in the fourth set.
But Santiago and Singh delivered the needed points for the Lady Bulldogs to eliminate the Lady Warriors in contention for the Final Four spot as the Recto-based squad dropped to 1-9.
Shaya Adorador paced UE with 16 points on 12 attacks.
In the men’s side, NU clinched a Final Four berth after surviving the tough Far Eastern University side, 25-21, 25-23, 26-24. The win solidified the Bulldogs’ hold of the second spot with 9-1 win-loss mark behind the spotless Ateneo de Manila University (10-0).
The Tamaraws, who had only Richard Solis scoring in double figures with 11, dropped to 5-5.
De La Salle University kept its Final Four bid alive with a thrilling 27-29, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 win over Adamson University.
Arjay Onia finished with a game-high 19 points while Chris Dumago added 18 built around his 14 spikes as the Green Archers improved to 4-6 and tied University of Santo Tomas in the standings at 4-6.
La Salle coach Nes Pamilar also drew 45 excellent sets from Geuel Asia in turning back the Soaring Falcons, who are now brink of elimination with a 2-8 mark.