LA SALLE overcame an early wobble to turn back National University in four sets, preserve its unblemished record, and secure an automatic finals berth with a thrice-to-beat advantage on Saturday in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The DLSU Lady Spikers completed a 14-match sweep of the eliminations with a 14-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 victory over the NU Lady Bulldogs.
That meant that instead of a crossover semifinal, the fourth, third and second-placed teams will go through a stepladder system to determine the second finalist.
The Lady Bulldogs hold a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder.
Ara Galang came up with 15 points, while Aby Maraño and Mika Reyes added 14 and 11, respectively, for the Lady Spikers, who are two wins away from a fourth straight title.
“First set reminder 'yun para magising kami (kung) ano ba yung laro ng La Salle, ano ba yung tono, it took one set na magising at maka-compose ng bago,” said Maraño.
“Remind ourselves sino tayo, ano ba kaya natin gawin, nire-remind ko sila ano ba yung kaya natin gawin, yung puso na meron tayo. Hindi tayo pwede magsalita ng magsalita ng wala namang gawa.”
“Ako naniniwala ako na ang isang team na lumalaban bilang isa ay mananalo. Hindi tayo pwedeng sumandal lang sa isa o sa isang tao lang tayo kumukuha ng lakas kailangan ikaw mismo na nasa loob para makatulong sa team para lahat walang butas kasi kung isa laban sa lahat wala tayong mararating nun.”
La Salle dropped a set for only the second time this season, when the Lady Bulldogs went off to a fast start and stunned the DLSU Lady Spikers.
"Eto na ang pinaka magandang laro ng NU sa buong elimination," said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus. "Sa second set buti kumapit 'yung mga bata, ayaw din kasi nilang magpatalo."
From a 3-12 contest early in the third, the Lady Spikers silenced the Lady Bulldogs with a 7-0 run led by Galang to take the upper hand, 20-18.
Jaja Santiago tied the game, 21-all, but La Salle scored the last four points to edge NU two sets to one.
The green-and-white squad took control in the fourth quarter, 21-14, before the Lady Bulldogs came up with a 5-0 run to inch closer, 19-21, but La Salle proved steadier and sealed the match with a 4-1 run.
"Masasabi ko swerte lang, pag ’yung score mo nasa 20s na, breaks of the game na lang ’yun," said De Jesus. "Buti sa amin nag favor 'yung situation."
Santiago sister Jaja and Dindin finished with 14 and 13 points apiece, while Carmina Aganon added 10 for NU.