La Salle title defense off to rousing start vs rival Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – De La Salle University (DLSU) sent a clear message right in the opening weekend – the Lady Spikers are dead set on defending their UAAP women's volleyball crown.
The Lady Spikers flashed their championship experience and overpowered the Ateneo Lady Eagles in 4 sets, 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, in an early blockbuster showdown between two fierce rivals on Sunday, February 17, at the packed Mall of Asia Arena.
Desiree Cheng led the Lady Spikers with 13 points built on 8 attacks, 2 blocks and 3 aces.
La Salle, which is bidding for a fourth straight championship, whipped Ateneo in the first two sets and managed to regain its footing in the 4th frame after a third-set slip-up.
Ateneo just found no answer against La Salle in the early goings and got plagued by poor defense that silenced the blue side of the huge crowd of 17,166.
The Lady Eagles struggled against the Lady Spikers' offensive plays in the first two frames, but managed to find their groove in the next set.
Preventing a sweep, the Lady Eagles claimed the 3rd set as the Lady Spikers suddenly turned mistake-prone, tallying 11 errors in the frame.
But the Lady Spikers made sure not to get dragged to a decider and quickly took control in the 4th set, 8-4, and held the upperhand the rest of the way.
Despite dominating the Lady Eagles, 11-time UAAP champion coach Ramil de Jesus downplayed La Salle’s win.
“Hindi naman madaling kalaban ang Ateneo. It’s the first game, naging pabor lang sa amin yung lahat ng situation, kaya siguro kami na nanalo,” said De Jesus.
(It’s not easy going against Ateneo. It’s the first game, the situation was in our favor, that’s why we won.)
Kat Tolentino emerged as the only Ateneo player with double-digit points, scoring 16 to lead the team. – Rappler.com