MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Lady Spikers reasserted their dominant mastery of the listless defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs with another sweep in their second straight meeting, 26-24, 26-24, 25-16, at the jampacked PhilSports Arena on Saturday, March 25.
Super rookie Angel Canino led the way with 15 points off 13 attacks in the Lady Spikers’ eighth straight win as a gift to their legendary head coach Ramil de Jesus, who returned to the sidelines for the first time since the Season 84 finals.
Jolina dela Cruz backstopped the effort with 12 points off 8 attacks, 3 blocks, and 1 ace with 9 excellent receptions, while star blocks Fifi Sharma and Thea Gagate added 9 and 8 points, respectively.
Coming off a pair of nail-biting finishes in the first two sets, unbeaten La Salle again solved the NU puzzle in the breakaway third frame, firing off a 5-1 start before peaking with a 9-point gap, 15-6, off a Mars Alba ace.
At that point, the rattled Lady Bulldogs simply had no answers as Canino wrapped things up with one last crosscourt kill for the win.
“NU had a bit of an adjustment this time around,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo in Filipino. “That’s what we coaches told them, to be ready for NU’s adjustments because it won’t be as easy as last time for them to give the game to us that quickly.”
“Although the straight-set win was again unexpected, we just barely crossed over the first two sets. We kind of lagged near the end of those sets, but the girls’ eagerness to win got us over the hump.”
Reigning MVP Bella Belen led all scorers in the sorry loss with 17 points, all off attacks, while rookie Vange Alinsug replaced captain Cess Robles in the starting six and added 14 points off 12 attacks and 2 blocks as NU slipped to third with a 5-3 record.
La Salle next faces the FEU Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday, March 29, 2 pm, at the Mall of Asia Arena, while NU attempts to arrest its rare two-game skid against the reeling UP Fighting Maroons on Saturday, April 1, 12 pm, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com
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