MANILA — La Salle made good use of its height advantage to prevail in straight sets, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21 over Far Eastern University in the University Athletic Association (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Philsports Arena.
It was the fifth straight win for the Lady spikers who got splendid performances from Thea Gagate and rookie Angel Canino.
Gagate finished with two blocks and two service aces to finish with 13 points, while Canino also slammed home 13 points aside from stacking up eight receptions and seven digs as the La Salle survived hard-fighting FEU in the third set.
The straight-set win gave La Salle, which is a win shy from duplicating a 6-0 romp during the 77th Season (2014-15) campaign, a much-needed confidence booster into its last two first-round assignments opposite Adamson and defending champion National University after a week-long break.
Specifically, the Lady Spikers will test the mettle of the Lady Falcons on March 19 followed by a Finals rematch of sort against the Bulldogs on March 22 to cap the first round.
“Going to our last two games kailangang mas maging pulido pa yung galaw namin kasi dadaan kami ng Adamson tapos NU,” said La Salle interim coach Noel Orcullo.
Alleiah Malaluan, who missed the first four matches due to a minor injury, made her season debut for the Lady Spikers and entered as a second set substitute and scored a point.
University of Santo Tomas later rebounded from last Wednesday’s straight-set loss to Adamson with a 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 sweep of University of the Philippines.
Eya Laure had 14 points, including two blocks, and six digs, Imee Hernandez went 9-of-18 from spikes and fired two service aces while Milena Alessandrini, back as a rotation player, added 10 points and five receptions for the Tigresses.
In the men’s division, Mark Calado logged his second straight 27-point outing as FEU extended its winning run to three with a 25-21, 25-16, 21-25, 25-21 conquest of La Salle.
The Tamaraws moved up to 4-1 overall, while ending the Green Spikers’ three-match winning streak.
FEU though showed its poise in the fourth set, as Jomel Codilla, Martin Bugaoan and JJ Javelona linked up to shatter a 20-20 tie before Calado finished the match with a block on JM Ronquillo.
“Composure yun talaga yung nawala tapos ang galing ng La Salle nagadjust sila sa bilis. Kung ano yung bilis na meron sila, good thing naka-adapt kami,” said coach Rei Diaz on what the Tamaraws lacked in the third.
Chenie Tagaod took the scoring mantle for FEU with 10 points, including two service aces, while rookie Alyzza Devasora contributed nine points.
The Lady Spikers also drew huge games from libero Justine Jazareno, who collected 19 digs, and setter Mars Alba, who tossed in 19 excellent sets.
“Hindi ko inaasahan na magiging ganon kabilis pero marami pa rin kami kailangang itama sa team kasi nga medyo nagkakaroon pa ng lapses lalo na kapag malayo na kami, biglang nagrerelax,” said Orcullo.