La Salle, NU go for the kill
MANILA, Philippines -- Will it be a dynasty continued? Or destiny making this series more exciting?
With a third straight title already in sniffing distance, De La Salle University goes for the kill tomorrow when they take on Ateneo de Manila University in Game 2 of the 75th UAAP women's volleyball finals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Armed with momentum after a stirring come-from-behind victory over the Lady Eagles last Saturday, the Lady Spikers are expected to go all out in foiling Ateneo's bid in extending the series to a Game 3.
Joining them in the chase to finish their opponents off will be National University, who are aiming to nab their first men's volleyball crown since the UAAP was formed in 1938 and also holds a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three race against Far Eastern University.
La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus admitted that while winning the opener was very important, he still has to fix issues with his team's play that almost doomed them in Game 1.
"Mas kailangan pa namin mag-concentrate sa blocking," the multi-titled tactician said. "Dahil first two sets disorganized ang blocking namin."
La Salle's net defense, which was the best in the UAAP throughout the tournament and the Final Four, bounced back from a shaky start to still finish with 13 blocks, seven of which came from Mika Reyes and Abi Marano.
Not over yet
For his part, Lady Eagles coach Roger Gorayeb refused to give up, saying that the series is not over yet "until the fat lady sings."
"I have three days to make adjustments," Gorayeb said after Game 1. "We have to learn from our mistakes."
If they are bent on stopping the Lady Spikers from bringing the crown home to Taft anew, though, Ateneo would have to focus on hitting their attacks more accurately, as evidenced by their 20.5% success rate in Game 1.
The Lady Eagles would have to work on their blocking, too, as they were only able to parry seven La Salle shots in the series opener.
Individual awardees to be feted
But before the epic Game 2 clash, the UAAP will recognize the best individual performers of the season, where Ateneo's Alyssa Valdez is expected to be named the league's Best Scorer, with teammate Jem Ferrer tipped to bag the Best Setter plum.
Season hosts NU are also set to rake in awards, with Myla Pablo grabbing the Best Attacker award and graduating libero Jen Reyes set to win the Best Digger and Best Receiver trophies.
Adamson's Shiela Pineda also led the way in the Best Server race while reigning MVP Abigail Marano is expected to grab the Best Blocker award. - Rappler.com