MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Lady Spikers staked their claim as the undisputed top team of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament first round after a shock-and-awe rout of the defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs, 25-10, 25-15, 25-21, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, March 22.
Captain Mars Alba steered the straight-set destruction with 20 excellent sets as La Salle cruised through the first round with a 7-0 record – its best start since Season 76 in 2013.
NU, on the other hand, fell to a 5-2 triple-tie with Adamson and UST for third place.
Super rookie Angel Canino once again led all scorers with 14 points, while Fifi Sharma and Jolina dela Cruz added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Sparked up by two separate 8-0 runs in the shocking first-set finish, La Salle stayed red-hot to start the second with a 15-6 separation sparked by a 6-1 spurt, ending with a Bella Belen antenna hit.
Errors like that continuously hounded the Lady Bulldogs as the Lady Spikers never let up all the way to a 25-15 finish, capped by an emphatic Dela Cruz block on NU captain Cess Robles.
Although the Lady Bulldogs finally found their bearings in the third to stay within one late in the set, 18-19, the Lady Spikers fired off one last 4-0 rally to effectively put the game away before Dela Cruz wrapped things up with a game-sealing crosscourt kill.
“I wasn’t expecting that we’d beat them in straight sets. I just told them before the first six entered to stick to the plan with what we studied,” said La Salle interim coach Noel Orcullo in Filipino.
“I told them to stay there and not leave the plans we did in training. At least they clicked and played with pride. I did not allow them to be intimidated,” Orcullo continued as La Salle snapped a four-game skid to NU dating back to Season 81 in 2019.
Reigning MVP Bella Belen was the lone Lady Bulldog in double-digit scoring with 12 points, while Jen Nierva tallied 13 excellent receptions and 11 excellent digs despite sitting out a majority of the second set.
By virtue of traditional matchups based on standings, La Salle immediately forges a rematch with NU on Saturday, March 25, at the PhilSports Arena.
First round standings
- La Salle 7 0
- Adamson 5 2
- NU 5 2
- UST 5 2
- FEU 3 4
- Ateneo 2 5
- UP 1 6
- UE 0
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.