DE LA SALLE got all what it needed entering the Final Four of Season 80 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball action last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Lady Archers beat the Ateneo Lady Eagles in straight sets, 26-24, 25-17, 25-19, to: first, complete a season sweep of their bitter rivals; second, win all their matches in the second round of eliminations; and third, carry a tremendous momentum as the No. 1 seed with a 12-2 won-lost card in the semifinals.
What made the victory even sweeter was the presence of a crowd of 23,243 fans that packed the arena who cheered to a hoarse in the match that lasted for a short one hour and 17 minutes.
Kianna Dy led De La Salle with 12 spikes for 13 points, with wing spiker Desiree Cheng chipping in 12 hits with seven digs, and outside hitter Tin Tiamzon added 11 points with six receptions.
Setter Michelle Cobb made 24 excellent sets on top of seven points, and libero Dawn Macandili protected the floor with 14 digs and 10 receptions for the two-time defending champions.
“We treat every game like it’s our last, so we go all out each time. It’s always ‘now or never every game,’” Dy said.
“It’s a no bearing game but we wanted to play the right way. We don’t want to enter the semis coming from a loss, without confidence,” said reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Majoy Baron, who had nine points in the match.
De La Salle, however, had to work hard in each set before duplicating its 25-20, 25-17, 24-26, 25-20 first-round win over Ateneo—a victory that paved the Lady Spikers’ eighth straight eliminations win.
The Lady Archers take on the No. 4 National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs oozing with confidence in the semifinals set next week. They own a twice-to-beat advantage when they take the floor on Wednesday.
Ateneo, on the other hand, is bound to meet in the Final Four peaking Far Eastern University (FEU), which completed the season sweep of NU, 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 25-20, also on Sunday. The Lady Tamaraws emerged as the No. 2 seed with a 10-4 card.
MVP candidate Bernadeth Pons unloaded 17 points with 16 receptions for the Lady Tamaraws.
“The Final Four would be a tougher road, just like climbing Mount Everest—higher, tougher and more obstacles and challenges are coming,” FEU Head Coach George Pascua said.
Celine Domingo contributed 12 hits, while Toni Rose Basas and Jeanette Villareal added nine and eight, respectively, for FEU.
Jaja Santiago carried NU with 21 points, but the Lady Bulldogs, who won six of their seven first round game, only got one win in the second round to finish with a 7-7 card at fourth place.