La Salle sweeps Ateneo to seal 3-peat
MANILA, Philippines - It might be Abi Marano and Ara Galang going home with the MVP hardware. But when it came to sealing De La Salle University's three-peat bid, it was Mika Reyes who got the job done.
The towering Reyes stood head and shoulders above her foes in leading the Lady Spikers to a 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 whipping of Ateneo de Manila University in Game 2 of the 75th UAAP women's volleyball championships Wednesday, March 6, at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena.
Reyes dazzled with a game-high 16 points off eight hits, seven blocks and an ace for La Salle, which won its fourth championship in the last five years and seventh title in the last decade.
The Lady Spikers started on the right foot, ringing up a 4-1 advantage off three points from newly-minted MVP Galang, but La Salle allowed the Lady Eagles to keep pace by committing nine errors in the opening set.
A soft tip by Cyd Demecillo gave the Lady Spikers a 24-18 advantage late in the first frame before Alyssa Valdez carried Ateneo on her back and scored five straight points to make it 24-23.
However, Valdez' heroics weren't enough to prevent La Salle from taking it, 25-23.
Mika Reyes show
The Lady Eagles opened up a 4-0 lead in the second set and looked in total control after erecting a 13-7 bubble after back-to-back hits by Fille Cainglet.
Then Reyes took over.
The six-foot middle blocker ignited the Lady Spikers' rally, delivering on both offense and defense as La Salle obliterated Ateneo's lead and took the driver's seat after Reyes blocked Valdez for the second straight time, 18-17.
The Lady Eagles could not recover from that spell as La Salle unleashed a set-closing 11-3 run to push Ateneo on the ropes.
It was almost the same story in the third period, when the Lady Eagles led, 13-10, before succumbing to a lethal 10-2 blast by the Lady Spikers.
Marano and Galang each scored 12 points for the Taft-based squad, who had to overcome 23 unforced errors by showering 17 blocks on Ateneo's hapless offense.
Finals MVP Michele Gumabao and Demecillo contributed six markers apiece, reserve setter Kim Fajardo completed 24 excellent sets and graduating libero Liss Gohing added 17 digs as La Salle won with its trademark total team effort.
"Sweet kase ito yung fruit of labor ng mga bata," winning coach Ramil de Jesus said after the game.
End of an era
The loss spelled a sad end for Ateneo's Fab Five era, with Jem Ferrer, Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, Cainglet and A Nacachi bidding their collegiate careers goodbye without a UAAP championship to boast of.
Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles' legions of fans, nobody in the Fab Five managed to score in double-digits, with Cainglet and Gervacio managing to only post eight and seven markers, respectively, for the Katipunan-based squad.
Valdez, who will be the primary face of Ateneo's campaign starting next season, tried her best and finished with 14 points but just couldn't get enough support from her teammates. - Rappler.com