DEFENDING champion De La Salle reasserted its mastery over University of Santo Tomas (UST), 25-23, 25-22, 25-21, to seal the No. 2 spot with a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball action on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The victory was the 10th in 12 matches for the Lady Spikers, who again tied the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles atop the standings.
Despite a straight-set win, the Lady Spikers had to stave off the gritty and stubborn Tigresses in a neck-and-neck battle that lasted 90 minutes.
Playmaker Kim Fajardo led De La Salle with 20 excellent sets with six hits, while Dawn Macandili took care of defense with 17 digs and eight receptions.
Kim Kianna Dy had 12 points before sitting it out after suffering a mild left ankle sprain early in the third set. Outside spikers Desiree Cheng and Tin Tiamzon finished with with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“We got our goal [twice-to-beat advantage] but we need to be more aggressive especially in floor defense,” De La Salle Head Coach Ramil De Jesus said. “Our flaws in service and receive were evident in the match. Hopefully, we could address those before the Final Four.”
Cherry Rondina, Ej Laure and Dimdim Pacres had 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively, but were unable to hold their ground in the final set.
UST fell to a triple tie for third to fifth places with University of the Philippines (UP) and National University (NU) on a 7-5 record.
Far Eastern University (FEU), meanwhile, kept its Final Four hopes alive after eluding University of the East’s (UE) upset bid, 25-14, 25-18, 27-25, also on Wednesday.
Bernadeth Pons had 11 points, including 15 digs, and six excellent receptions for FEU which improved to 6-6. Jeanette Villareal also made 11 points, while Remy Palma had nine of her own. Setter Angelica Cayuna dished out 13 excellent sets with three hits.
“We still need to pass through the eye of the needle,” FEU Head Coach Shaq Delos Santos said. “But I know my team can still make it. We just have to be at our best every game and take our last two games one step at a time. We’ll focus on our game against NU on Saturday first.”
Shaya Adorador finished with 11 points for the Lady Warriors, who are out of the running with a 1-11 card.
In men’s action, UST improved to 6-6 won-lost for joint third place after surviving De La Salle (4-8) in five sets, 28-30, 25-23, 25-20, 16-25, 15-11.
NU, on the other hand, was also extended to five sets. 27-25, 25-18, 22-25, 19-25, 15-12, by University of the Philippines to keep second spot with an 11-1 record.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza