Lady Archers score

In Photo: NATIONAL University’s Risa Sato puts one in over University of the East’s Jasmine Alcayde.

DEFENDING champion De La Salle avenged its first round lost to University of the Philippines (UP), 27-25, 25-11, 25-17, to inch closer to a Final Four berth in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City.

The Lady Spikers had vengeance in mind but were more cautious this time to make sure the Lady Maroons won’t repeat their 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 first round win. De La Salle pocketed the win in 73 minutes.

“We were shocked by UP’s movement and got easily distracted in the first round,” De La Salle Assistant Coach Noel Orcullo, speaking for Head Coach Ramil de Jesus, said. “This game, we told the players not to mind UP’s court antics—don’t be bothered by the pressure and just play our game.”

Reigning Best Blocker Majoy Baron stood out in De La Salle’s sweet revenge and came up with seven attacks, six service aces and three blocks for 16 points.

Kianna Dy, Tin Tiamzon and Desiree Cheng had 11 points each, while playmaker Kim Fajardo made 23 excellent sets for six points for the Lady Spikers. Libero Dawn Macandili took care of their defense with 23 digs and eight receptions.

The Lady Spikers kept solo second spot with an 8-2 win-loss record behind the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles (9-1).

The Lady Maroons slid to a 5-5 card to join Far Eastern University (FEU) at fifth spot.

Except in the first set, UP was far from the form that made them shock De La Salle on the way to a 4-0 season start.

Isa Molde and Diana Carlos had 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Lady Maroons.

National University (NU, meanwhile, survived another tough test from stubborn University of the East (UE) to escape with a 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 victory and boost its Final Four bid.

The Lady Bulldogs improved to 6-4 for a tie at No. 3 with University of Santo Tomas. But just like in their first round clash, they were again pushed to their limits before winning the match in one hour and 39 minutes.

The vastly-improved Lady Warriors are already out of Final Four contention with a 1-9 card but have been giving their opponents the scare.

Six-foot-five national team call-up Jaja Santiago did most of the scoring with 23 points on 20 spikes and three blocks, while setter Jasmine Nabor dished out 27 excellent sets and finished with eight points and 12 digs.

NU Head Coach Roger Gorayeb, however, blamed liberos Gayle Valdez and Joni Chavez for giving UE the chance to score an upset. Both finished the match without a single excellent receive or dig.

“It’s their obligation to play defense. That’s their job, they need to help their teammates in digs and reception,” said Gorayeb, who decided to play without a libero in the third and fourth set.

“But I don’t want to talk so much about them anymore because it’s still good win for us,” he said. “We’ll just continue to train harder because the race for the Final Four is getting tougher and tighter.”

National University secured the second semifinals berth after sending FEU to its third straight loss, 25-21, 25-23, 26-24, in the men’s contest also on Sunday.

Image Credits: Stephanie Tumampos