by Kristel SatumbagaDefending champion La Salle exacted sweet revenge as it overpowered University of the Philippines (UP), 27-25, 25-11, 25-17, to boost its semis bid in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
After a shaky start, the Lady Spikers asserted their might against the Lady Maroons with their solid blocking and strong reception to pick up their eighth win against two losses and stay in second place.
With a 9-1 record, Ateneo is now assured of a playoff for the last semis berth.
The victory enabled La Salle to avenge its straight-set loss to UP in the first round.
Joy Baron led the Lady Spikers with 16 points highlighted by six aces and three blocks, while Desiree Cheng, Kim Dy, and Tin Tiamzon added 11 points apiece.
UP dropped to 5-5 in a tie with Far Eastern University at fifth to sixth places. It lost five of its last six matches after a 4-0 start.
UP’s woes was compounded by its erratic service and poor net defense.
National University was caught by surprise in the third but recovered gradually to beat a stubborn University of the East (UE), 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, in the first game.
The Lady Bulldogs fell into a maze of errors mainly due to the Lady Warriors’ booming spikes before steeling themselves to escape with the win.
NU’s triumph improved its record to 6-4, tying University of Santo Tomas for third to fourth places.
Combination plays from Jorelle Singh and Jaja Santiago enabled NU to break loose from a tight contest, taking a 23-19 breather from a slim 18-17 lead.
Santiago exploded anew with 23 points built on 20 attacks and three blocks, while Singh pumped in 17 points on 15 kills and two aces for the Lady Bulldogs.
UE’s rise in the third was aided by NU’s poor reception and the gutsy plays of Shaya Adorador and Judith Abil.
In all, NU had 37 errors.
Risa Sato also provided reinforcements with 10 points, including five blocks, while setter Jasmine Nabor 27 excellent sets and 12 digs on top of eight points.
While UE had flashes of offensive brilliance, its defense was so weak that it produced only one block courtesy of Seth Rodriguez.
Its 13 service aces also did not help as NU finished with 61 digs – 10 coming from Aiko Urdas.
Adorador and Abil combined for 26 points for UE which delighted the crowd with its heady plays.
Games Wednesday (The Arena, San Juan City)
2 p.m. – UP vs Adamson (women’s)
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs NU (women’s)
Tags: Desiree Cheng, Far Eastern University, Jaja Santiago, Jorelle Singh, La Salle, Lady Bulldogs, Lady Maroons, Lady Spikers, UE, University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines, volleyball tournament