DE LA SALLE University kept its poise against a tough challenge from Far Eastern University (FEU) which forced two nerve-wracking sets before yielding to the unbeaten Lady Spikers, 30-28, 25-12, 28-26, to in University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball action Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Spikers needed to toil against the upset-hungry Lady Tamaraws in notching their ninth straight victory for a guaranteed playoff for a Final Four berth.
FEU was a tough customer in the first set that went beyond regulation play with Angel Canino scoring on back-to-back hits for a 30-28 set victory for De La Salle.
The second set was lopsided but the Lady Tamaraws weren’t a team that rolls over and dies.
It took a Jolina Dela Cruz crosscourt shot and a Jovelyn Fernandez attack error for FEU to hand the win to De La Salle.
“We were flat in the first set,” Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo said. “I needed to remind the girls to execute what we do in practice.”
Canino was spectacular with 16 points, 15 excellent receptions and 14 digs, while De la Cruz had 13 points and 14 digs.
Thea Gagate added 11 points while Jyne Soreño stepped up with eight points for opposite spiker Leila Cruz, who suffered an ACL injury in her right knee in their previous game against National University (NU).
The Lady Tamaraws slipped to 4-5 won-lost at fifth place, only half a game ahead of Ateneo de Manila University.
Chenie Tagaod delivered 13 points and Alyzza Devosora got 10 points for FEU, which drew a good impression from Shiela Kiseo as a libero with 15 excellent receptions and nine digs.
University of Santo Tomas (UST), meanwhile, sent University of the East to the brink of elimination, 25-17, 25-16, 25-17, also on Wednesday.
Eya Laure lifted the Golden Tigresses to their sixth victory in nine matches in a tie with NU. She had 17 points on 15 attacks, a block and an ace.
Nine of 11 UST non-libero players coach Kungfy Reyes fielded scored at least two points with middle blockers Imee Hernandez and Pia Abbu contributing eight and seven points, respectively.
KC Cepada and Van Bangayan again led UE with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Ja Lana added 10 points. UE dropped to 0-9.