Lady Spikers takes 2nd place, twice ahead

Leiah Malaluan (No. 6) opened the scoring for La Salle.  —PHOTOS BY UAAP MEDIA

Leiah Malaluan (No. 6) opened the scoring for La Salle. —PHOTOS BY UAAP MEDIA

La Salle will always get a boost when it comes to beating Ateneo, no matter the sport. But on Tuesday night, Lady Spikers’ win over the defending champions had a little extra sauce.

In winning the latest episode of a legendary rivalry, a team rebuilding La Salle took 2nd place in the knockout stages and with it a crucial defense of two defeats.

The Lady Spikers had a great 19-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 15-12 victory over the Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena, thanks to the contribution of some key players .

In the tight fifth set, La Salle displayed such composure that Ateneo was unbreakable to claim his 10th win in his opening 13 games.

“We were just trying to help each other prove to each other that we could beat Ateneo, that’s why we played that way,” said Baby Jyne Soreño, who had 17 points alongside the top shooter. Leiah Malaluan to lead La Salle.

“It’s teamwork,” added Jolina dela Cruz, who finished with 14 points. “It’s not a result of just one player doing everything. Each of us has proven that we can make points. ”

UST No. 3

That statement of teamwork could have been boosted by a 29-point performance by Ateneo star Faith Nisperos, whose lightning strike in the fifth set gave La Salle a precious 12-10 lead.

Since then, the Lady Spikers have always been tough and never allowed the Blue Eagles to threaten.

“Our message to them (the players) is that they have to want it; If they want enough, they’ll get it,” La Salle’s assistant coach Benson Bocboc said in Filipino.

With the win, La Salle also beat a semi-final against his fierce opponent.

University of Santo Tomas (UST), the team that beat University of the East, 26-24, 25-18, 25-19, took 3rd place and will face Lady Spikers in Final Four, needing to win Win twice to make it to the fun championship.

The Tigers had to face off against the aggressive Lady Warriors, who were even at the set point in the opening bracket before UST hit themselves to shape to secure their 9th win in 13 games.

UST was really the only team left with a chance of beating La Salle in 2nd place, but even then, the Tigers had already lost through the quotient.

Ateneo is precariously in 4th place with a 7-6 record, still within reach of Adamson Lady Falcons, who is playing at press time.

Not that position 4 is worth nothing at this point. While winning a final semi-final berth expands Ateneo’s longstanding title, it will also put the Blue Eagles on the path of ferocious leader National University (NU).

Lady Bulldogs notched their 13th straight win after overturning Far Eastern U, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19, 25-10, to take one step closer to claiming a championship spot. outright rivalries and push the bottom semi-finalists on a step-girl’s grueling journey to the final.

Mhicaela Belen led the NU with 18 points while Jen Nierva bolstered the defense with 18 digs and 12 excellent receptions as Lady Bulldogs recovered from an early defeat to move closer to the qualifying round.

“What I’ve observed is that everyone is struggling and that’s not our energy,” Nierva said. “What I did was I started to show more energy and showed that I was enjoying the game and so was everyone.” INQ

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