MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The La Salle Lady Spikers still have Far Eastern University's numbers.
After sweeping FEU in last year's title series, reigning champion La Salle overwhelmed FEU yet again with a straight-set win, 25-15, 25-19, 26-24, in the UAAP Season 81 volleyball tournament on Saturday, March 16, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
La Salle has not conceded a set to FEU since their elimination-round battles last season.
The three-peat champions broke a three-way deadlock and now provisionally hold solo No. 2 spot at 5-2.
FEU dropped to 4th place with a 4-3 record.
Tin Tiamzon delivered once again with 13 points off 9 attacks, 3 aces and 1 block.
La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus was satisfied with La Salle’s solid showing in the first two sets, but admitted that things turned difficult when FEU found its groove midway through the 3rd.
“Maganda naman ang naging result ng first two sets and eventually, pagdating ng 3rd set, nakilala na nila (FEU) ’yung isa’t isa, medyo nakakalaro na nang maayos, may connection na sila sa inside the court, hanggang nakapitan namin ’yung 3rd set,” said De Jesus.
(The results of the first two sets were good, but eventually, FEU found its rhythm – they were playing better and they had connection inside the court – until we held on to win the 3rd set.)
Rookie Lycha Ebon was the lone double digit scorer for FEU with 19 points off 8 attacks and 2 blocks. Celine Domingo recorded her first single-digit output of the season with 7 points.
Ria Duremdes helped keep the ball alive for FEU with 33 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions.
The Lady Spikers had control from the get-go as they surged to an 8-1 start which was quickly stretched to a 10-point lead, 16-6.
FEU found some spark and staged a short rally late in the opening frame, but the defending champion still closed out the set up by double digits.
It was a tighter game in the 2nd set, but the Lady Spikers resumed control as the set closed out.
The Lady Tamaraws continued to absorb a huge drubbing from the Lady Spikers as they again fell to a 1-8 deficit in the 3rd set.
But just like the previous set, FEU showed signs of life midway as the Lady Tamaraws staged a 6-0 run led by Czarina Carandang and Lycha Ebon that tied the score at 17-all.
An attack error from Jolina dela Cruz gifted FEU the lead, 20-21, but Jerrili Malabanan conceded two points with a short attack before a Norielle Ipac block shifted the lead back to La Salle, 23-22.
The match continued to be a nail-biter, but La Salle prevailed with an extended-set decision following back-to-back errors by FEU. – 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.