Defending champion De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers tamed University of Santo Tomas (UST) Lady Tigresses, 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13, to clinch a finals berth in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 Women’s Volleyball on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
Reigning best setter Kim Fajardo scored 11 points, including five service aces, to help the Taft-based squad secure their ninth straight UAAP Finals appearance. “We keep putting in our mindset that we want to reach the Finals,” said DLSU team captain who also gathered 39 excellent sets for her team.
Last season’s best blocker Joy Baron chipped in 17 points with four coming off blocks while reigning UAAP Finals MVP Kim Kianna Dy added 12 points for the Lady Spikers. Ernestine Tiamzon ended with a double-double performance through 13 markers and 13 excellent digs to spoil the Lady Tigresses’ Final Four debut after four years.
“They (Lady Spikers) have to prove that they can still do it despite the departure of Mika Reyes, Ara Galang, Cyd Demecillo. So, they have to fill in the gap for the missing positions,” said DLSU coach Ramil de Jesus.
Libero Dawn Macandili proved she was the league’s reigning best receiver and digger, adding 20 excellent digs and nine excellent receptions.
De La Salle dictated the early tempo of the game, trailing UST with a two-set deficit.
UST, on the other hand, proved that it was not an easy team to beat by posting a 1-6 advantage in the third set. Pulled out of the third set due to an injury, Ennajie Laure came back as her team struggles 15-13 and led the team to a 24-26 third frame victory. She eventually finished the match with 14 points.
Referring to the third set defeat, de Jesus said, “We cannot enter the finals playing the way we did in the previous (third) set. We have to be aggressive both offensively and defensively,” said de Jesus.
Unfazed with the set loss and shifting momentum, the Lady Spikers commenced the fourth set with a 10-point advantage, 11-1. The España-based squad failed to rally back during the fourth frame losing to La Salle, 25-13.
UST team captain Cherry Rondina led the scoring for her team with 16 points.
De La Salle awaits the winner of the Ateneo-FEU semifinals series, which will be held today.