A jubilant La Salle side (ESPN photo courtesy)
Standings W L
*DLSU 11 1
NU 8 3
UST 8 3
AdU 8 4
FEU 6 6
Ateneo 4 8
UP 1 10
UE 0 11
(Mall of Asia Arena)
10 a.m. – AdU vs UP (Men)
12 noon – AdU vs UP (Women)
2 p.m. – NU vs UE (Women)
4 p.m. – NU vs UE (Men)
MANILA — La Salle threw everything but the kitchen sink before putting aside gritty Adamson, 25-17, 25-27, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9, Wednesday, to grab the first twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four of the University Atheltic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
As usual, Angel Canino came away with a remarkable showing as she logged four points even as Shevana Laput contributed two important points while Jolina dela Cruz raked up two crucial service aces in La Salle’s pivotal 8-0 run after the Lady Falcons nailed the first two points of the deciding set.
Lady luck also shone on La Salle’s side as Adamson lost Kate Santiago due to cramps with the Lady Falcons trailing 6-13.
Still, it was not the end of it as Adamson refused to budge, saving three match points before Dela Cruz closed out the marathon contest with a kill.
Canino went on to finish with a career-high 28 points, spiked with five blocks for La Salle, which improved to a league-best 11-1 win-loss record.
Adamson fell to fourth at 8-4.
Earlier, Far Eastern University drew a huge game from 5-foot-8 setter Tin Ubaldo to beat also-ran Ateneo, 25-21, 25-11, 22-25, 25-21, and keep its slim Final Four hopes alive with a 6-6 record.
Ubaldo, whom first-year coach and Lady Tamaraws legend Tina Salak is developing to be a scoring setter, had seven points, including three attacks, two blocks, and two service aces, and tossed in 10 excellent sets. Her match-clinching ace completed FEU’s season sweep against their counterparts from Katipunan.
“Whatever the outcome, yung sa amin kasi tinitignan namin yung three remaining games, two na lang kasi this one (naipanalo) na namin. Yung three remaining games gusto namin talaga manalo if ever kung aabot kami… sa Final Four blessing na yun pero this time ang focus namin kailangan ma-maximize namin yung time namin dito sa UAAP na may win,” said Salak.
Chenie Tagaod took the scoring mantle for the Lady Tamaraws with 15 points, including two service aces, Jov Fernandez had two blocks and two service aces for a 12-point outing while sisters Jean and Ann Asis combined for six of the team’s 12 blocks.
Faith Nisperos had 20 points and eight digs, Lyann de Guzman added 11 points while AC Miner had four blocks for a 10-point effort for the Blue Eagles, who suffered their eighth loss in 12 matches.
Ateneo still has something to celebrate as its men’s team moved in a tie with FEU in the fourth spot with a 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-27, 15-7 victory.
The Blue Eagles put the clamps on the Tamaraws’ attacking game in the deciding set, scoring four blocks in a telling 9-0 run to put the match to bed.
With a 6-6 record, Ateneo’s win served as a good springboard to this Sunday’s rivalry match with La Salle in a duel that has a lot of implications for the last two Final Four berths.
“I’m very happy na yung mga players namin nag step up during the fifth set talagang they really wanted to win this game kasi yun nga to keep our hopes alive for the Final Four,” said Blue Eagles coach Timmy Sto. Tomas.
Jian Salarzon led Ateneo with 29 points, including four blocks and two service aces, and 12 receptions while setter Egie Magadia was solid in distributing plays with 21 excellent sets.
Charles Absin also had four blocks for a 14-point outing, Jet Gopio had 11-of-22 spikes to finish with 13 points while Ken Batas added 12 points and eight digs for Blue Eagles.
The loss negated Mark Calado’s 31-point outburst for FEU, which has lost four games in a row.