De La Salle University’s Joline Dela Cruz attacks against two Ateneo de Manila University defenders during the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. UAAP PHOTO
De La Salle University’s Joline Dela Cruz attacks against two Ateneo de Manila University defenders during the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. UAAP PHOTO

Just like in their UAAP Season 82 opener, De La Salle University picked up a four-set win over rival Ateneo de Manila University, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 this time to kick-start its UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament campaign at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.

Baby Soreno led the Lady Spikers in scoring with 17 points off 13 attacks, three blocks, and an ace while Alleiah Malaluan finished with a triple-double of 15 points, 15 excellent digs, and 11 excellent receptions.

"For us, usually ang hardest game namin is the first one and it's very important to us," said Lady Spikers assistant coach Benson Bocboc, who filled in for head coach Ramil De Jesus in the post-game press conference. "Of course, our team is new so lahat ng adjustments talagang kailangan gawin and nagkataon lang na Ateneo rin kaagad yung kalaban kaya yung first set up to the second set actually adjustment period pa rin e."

After exchanging the first two sets, La Salle went on a tear in the third frame and led by as much as seven points before sealing the 2-0 advantage over Ateneo.

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Down by four points, Ateneo's Faith Nisperos nailed three consecutive points topped off by an attack error from Jolina Dela Cruz which tied the fourth set at 18-all.

Thea Gagate halted the Blue Eagles' streak with a quick before Dela Cruz pierced through Nisperos' block. Ateneo failed to get the ball over in the following play which restored a 21-18 advantage for La Salle.

After a short exchange, Malaluan scored two straight points to put the Lady Spikers at match point before Nisperos's attack went long which ended the match.

"So, nagkataon lang na yung mga breaks din napunta sa team kaya tuloy tuloy, nakuha natin yung panalo and nakuha ng mga players yung composure throughout the third and fourth set," Bocboc added.

Gagate contributed 11 points for La Salle while Fifi Sharma and Jolina Dela Cruz added 10 and nine points, respectively. Justine Jazareno manned the floor with 25 excellent digs and 15 excellent receptions while

On the other hand, Nisperos' 24-point outing went down the drain as the Blue Eagles failed to sustain their hot start in set one.

Lyann De Guzman had 11 points in the loss while Vanie Gandler chipped in nine points, 11 excellent digs, and four excellent receptions. Dani Ravena collected 23 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions.