MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)－First blood goes to the reigning champions.
The De La Salle University Lady Spikers get a head start against rivals Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, climbing their way to a 4-set Game 1 victory, 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-20, on Tuesday, May 2 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Tin Tiamzon anchored the Lady Spikers' offense as she posted a team-high 15 markers, which all came from attacks. Last year's Finals MVP Kim Dy added 14 on 12 spikes, while Desiree Cheng had 10.
Graduating team captain Kim Fajardo landed the Player of the Game honors after putting up 10 points on 7 service aces coupled with 37 excellent sets.
Early errors in service and reception plagued the Taft crew as they listed 40 miscues throughout the match.
But the Lady Spikers, who dropped both elimination games against Ateneo, forced a thrilling tiebreak portion in the second set and came out victorious at the 29th mark. They carried the momentum on in the following sets and were able to lengthen the gap down the stretch for a 4-set win against the league leaders.
"We really want to defend the crown," said Kim Dy after the game. "But, we won't overthink [things] too much."
The Lady Eagles, who came in as the best spiking team in the league, were dominated by La Salle in the same department, 38-51. Jho Maraguinot and Bea de Leon led the charge for the Katipunan squad as they conspired for 30 points.
Michelle Morente had an efficient performance on both ends of the floor after pitching in 11 markers, all from attacks, as well as 20 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions. Skipper Jia Morado meanwhile had 4 aces to go with 46 excellent sets for the Lady Eagles, who now look to extend the series to a Game 3 rubber match.
This is the 6th straight Finals match-up between the two teams, and also the 9th straight berth for the Lady Spikers, who move one win away from successfully defending the crown.
Game 2 of the best-of-3 Finals is on Saturday, May 6 beginning at 4 pm at the Big Dome. This season’s special awards will also be given out on the same day right before the game.
DLSU (3): Tiamzon 15, Dy 14, Cheng 10, Fajardo 10, Baron 8, Ogunsanya 7, Luna 2.
ADMU (1): Maraguinot 16, De Leon 14, Morente 11, Morado 5, Madayag 3, Gopico 3, Tolentino 2.