UAAP Volleyball

La Salle fends off FEU, moves on cusp of Final Four berth in bittersweet sweep

JR Isaga

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La Salle fends off FEU, moves on cusp of Final Four berth in bittersweet sweep

STILL THE BEST. La Salle star spiker Jolina dela Cruz celebrates after a point at the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

Unbeaten La Salle inches closer to a UAAP Final Four spot in bittersweet fashion, as the Lady Spikers sweep feisty FEU while dealing with the news that starter Leila Cruz suffered a season-ending ACL injury

MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Lady Spikers stayed true to their dominant ways, staying composed as they downed the feisty FEU Lady Tamaraws in a tight sweep, 30-28, 25-12, 28-26, in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, March 29.

Angel Canino had an all-around outing in the win with 16 points, 15 excellent receptions, and 14 excellent digs as La Salle rose to a 9-0 record, while Jolina dela Cruz provided support anew with 13 points, 14 excellent digs, and 6 excellent receptions.

Baby Jyne Soreño added 8 points in a starting nod as she replaced Leila Cruz, who suffered a season-ending right ACL tear last game against NU.

Coming off a 25-12 blowout in the second set where La Salle hammered down a 17-3 finishing kick, FEU still bounced back fighting until the very end, as it took a 24-23 set point lead off consecutive Lady Spiker errors.

The Lady Tamaraws, however, repeated their first-set faults as they were unable to close out the frame, even playing catch-up after an Alyzza Devosora off-the-block score for the 26-all tie.

Dela Cruz then scored off a crosscourt kill for 27-26 match point, before FEU shot itself in the foot with a game-sealing Jov Fernandez attack that went too low.

“We started flat in the first set. It’s like they were unable to move well,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo as FEU dragged them to a grueling extended first set, 30-28.

“We just reminded them that they were moving away from the system. They were moving differently from what they practiced. That’s all we reminded them.”

Chen Tagaod paced the heartbreaking loss with 13 points, while Devosora scored 10 as the Lady Tamaraws fell to a 4-5 slate.

La Salle can formally clinch a Final Four berth with its 10th win at the expense of fellow contender UST Golden Tigresses on Sunday, April 2, 2 pm, at the Araneta Coliseum.

Meanwhile, FEU aims to return to the win column earlier at 12 pm as it attempts to formally boot the winless UE Lady Warriors out of contention. –

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