DLSU Lady Spikers back in UAAP Finals, defeat UST in 4 sets

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Lady Spikers inch closer to their ultimate goal of defending the title.

The reigning champs De La Salle University advances to the 79th UAAP Women's Championship round following a 4-set victory over the University of Santo Tomas, 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13 on Saturday, April 22 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Lady Spikers came firing at the start of the match, registering 13 excellent attacks in the opening set. They also limited one of the top offensive teams in the league to just 7 attacks as they listed 5 block points of their own. 

After bucking a slow start in the second set, the Tigresses were hounded by errors down the stretch as La Salle took a commanding two-set lead. 

The España-based squad had a momentary scare when EJ Laure twisted her ankle in the opening minutes of the 3rd. The former skipper returned before the second technical timeout, and scored right away through a check ball. Her comeback only seemed to spark UST's fight as they survived a tiebreaker to stay alive in the match. 

The Lady Spikers, however, stopped the impending rally as they rocketed to an early 11-1 lead in the 4th.

"Masarap sa La Salle 'yun siyempre," said DLSU head coach Ramil de Jesus after the game. "This year, sabi ko, maraming nawala. Gusto rin nila patunayan sa sarili nila [na kaya nila]."

(It's a good feeling for La Salle of course. This year, I told myself, a lot of players have graduated. But they [girls] wanted to prove a point.) 

Majoy Baron topscored for the Taft squad with 17 markers on 13 attacks and 4 blocks, while Tin Tiamzon and Kim Dy added 13 and 12, respectively. 

Desiree Cheng and Kim Fajardo both wound up in double digits with 11 apiece. The graduating captain Fajardo had 5 of La Salle's 11 aces and also listed 39 excellent sets.

Aduke Ogunsanya meanwhile led the block party for DLSU as she posted 6 of the team's 17 rejections. 

UST skipper Sisi Rondina put up a team-high 16 points, all from attacks. She had ample support from Laure, who contributed 14 markers to go with 11 excellent receptions.

La Salle is now on standby for the victor of the remaining Final Four clash between the Ateneo Lady Eagles and the FEU Lady Tamaraws. 

Scores: 

DLSU (3): Baron 17, Tiamzon 13, Dy 12, Cheng 11, Fajardo 11, Ogunsanya 9, Luna 3 

UST (1): Rondina 16, Laure 14, Meneses 10, Cortez 2, Francisco 2, Palec 2, Bicar 1 

Rappler.com