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La Salle raring to bounce back


By Kristel Satumbaga


The pressure is on for La Salle to keep its title retention bid alive in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

Not only the Lady Spikers are gunning for back-to-back crowns but the Taft-based squad is also seeking to extend their championship appearance to nine years.

The team has been a regular fixture in the finals over the last eight seasons, snaring five trophies and settling for three runner-up finishes.

But they are not taking the Final Four battle lightly.

“Iba na yung labanan sa semis. Kahit na makakuha ka ng set, hindi pa rin ganung kadaling manalo sa kalaban. So siguro isa pa rin yun sa dapat tutukan ng team,” said La Salle Coach Ramil De Jesus.

The Lady Spikers are erasing the memory of its recent loss to archrivals Ateneo Lady Eagles in the double-round elims to settle for the No. 2 seeding in the semis with an 11-3 win-loss record.

It set them up for a semis meeting with the title-hungry University of Santo Tomas Tigresses, needing only one game to gain a finals ticket.

For La Salle Coach Ramil De Jesus, the elimination round rankings don’t matter anymore.

“Itong semis na kasi, dito na magsisimula yung totoong labanan. So kailangan, dito na kami hindi magpapatalo,” De Jesus said.

The Lady Spikers prevailed over the Tigresses in their two elimination round meetings: a 25-23, 16-25, 25-14, 25-17 victory last Feb. 11 and a 25-10, 26-24, 28-26 triumph March 15.

Looking at their previous matchup against UST and their loss to Ateneo, De Jesus knows that the road to the finals will not be a walk in the park.

“Focus lang at quick adjustment ang kailangan,” said De Jesus, refusing to divulge more.

The La Salle-UST matchup is set on April 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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    I’m beginning to doubt La Salle’s tenacity in finishing well against Ateneo. I hate seeing cardiac starts only to lose wind in the end. It’s the players’ characters that dictate the outcome sometimes. In this aspect they don’t have an Abby Maraño, Michelle Gumabao or Mika Reyes type of leader on the floor to pump themselves up. I hope to be dead wrong come the semis to finals.