MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Revenge never felt sweeter for the La Salle Lady Spikers in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The defending champions rallied back from a set down and had the last laugh over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in 4 sets, 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 26-24, on Sunday, March 31, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Flashing its trademark swag, La Salle grabbed the solo 2nd spot with a 7-3 record and pushed UST down to 4th at 6-4.
Desiree Cheng unleashed a career-high 20 points off 14 attacks, 3 blocks and 3 aces to lead the La Salle squad that headed into the game vying to avenge its embarrassing straight-set loss to UST in the first round.
Early in the match, though, it seemed like the Tigresses again had their numbers as UST unleashed a 7-1 run to overturn an early deficit on the way to claiming the opening frame, 25-21.
But the Lady Spikers made sure it won’t happen again.
La Salle bounced back in the 2nd set with a pivotal 6-1 run for a 16-11 edge before fending off UST’s comeback attempts to even the match at 1–1.
With reigning Best Server Cheng at the line, La Salle went on a massive 10-0 run in the 3rd set that saw the team captain score two aces, 19-12.
Although Janine Balcorta ended Cheng’s dominant run at the service line, the Lady Spikers still took the frame and cruised to a 2-1 match advantage.
It was a neck-and-neck battle in the 4th set as neither team gave up more than two points. But it was La Salle that outlasted the Golden Tigresses in the extended set as Des Clemente wrapped it up with back-to-back blocks on Eya Laure.
La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus, however, admitted that the Lady Spikers committed too many errors that cost them the opening frame.
“Slow start so medyo nangangapa pa noong 1st set,” said De Jesus. “Nakuha ng UST ang 1st set kasi madami kaming unforced errors. Sabi ko mag-adjust lang, mas kumilos ng mas magaan. Buti nakuha namin ang 2nd set.”
(It was a slow start because we were struggling in the 1st set. UST got the 1st set because we had a lot of unforced errors. I just said that we should adjust so that we’ll move better. It’s a good thing we won the 2nd set.)
La Salle’s goal was also to limit Laure, but the UST super rookie still managed to tally a team-high of 20 points. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.