MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion La Salle again made it look so easy even against top-ranked fierce rival Ateneo.
Dominant all the way, La Salle halted Ateneo’s 10-game winning streak with a straight-set ripping, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, to clinch a Final Four berth in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament on Saturday, April 13, at the packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Spikers, who kept solo 2nd with a 9-3 record, made it look much like their first meeting where they also overwhelmed the Lady Eagles in 4 sets.
This time, the Lady Spikers came out even more decisive, exposing Ateneo’s struggling defense early on with an 8-0 run, 21-13, before wrapping it up, 25-17.
The Lady Spikers never looked back from there as the Lady Eagles, although assured of a Final Four slot, absorbed their second loss for a 10-2 card.
La Salle’s standout rookie Jolina dela Cruz powered the team with 14 points while Aduke Ogunsanya and Lourdes Clemente tallied 10 points apiece.
Ateneo had no player finishing in double figures as Ponggay Gaston scored 7 points while Kat Tolentino and Bea de Leon notched 6 points each.
After playing limited minutes in the previous games, May Luna’s presence fueled La Salle’s momentum which got them off to an 8-3 start.
Ateneo had no answers for the mighty La Salle as an ace by Michelle Cobb gave them a 10-point lead, 17-7.
Dela Cruz later lifted the Lady Spikers to set point and a service error by Ateneo’s Vanie Gandler gifted La Salle with an easy 2-0 match lead.
By the 3rd set, Ateneo tried to put up a fight, 11-14. But La Salle’s service proved too powerful as the Lady Spikers went on a 5-2 run to get within 3 points from taking the game, 22-16.
Ateneo attempted to rally back with a massive 5-0 run but a crucial overreaching violation halted the momentum before an Ogunsanya hit wrapped up the one-sided win. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.