LA Salle strolled back into the UAAP women’s volleyball finals, overcoming a third-set slip for a 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13 victory over University of Sto. Tomas on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Majoy Baron, Tin Tiamzon and Kim Dy showed the way for the Lady Archers, who looked on the way to scoring a quick straight sets win but wound up getting an intense workout with the Tigresses.
Baron scored 17, Ernestine Tiamzon added 13, Dy had 12 points, while Desiree Cheng and Kim Fajardo chipped in 11 markers apiece.
La Salle showed resilience after the Tigresses’ third-set fightback, seizing an early double-digit lead in the fourth and taking the big win to get on track for back-to-back titles.
“Wala akong masabi. Actually, basta kasi, every year mas gusto ko mag-prepare, ewan ko, siguro kaloob na lang ng Diyos ‘yun kasi ang hard work na ginagawa namin, buong year,” said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus.
The Lady Spikers will look to add to the championships La Salle won in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016.
La Salle takes on either the top-seeded Ateneo Lady Eagles or No. 4 Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, who clash in the other semifinal on Sunday.
The Tigresses were playing in the semifinals for the first time after a four-year absence and were determined to extend their season, with EJ Laure exemplifying true grit by returning to action after hurting her right ankle in the third.
Her return was a big boost and UST did get the set to extend the match, but La Salle proved too strong and was never threatened in the fourth, leading 23-12 en route to victory.
“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na hindi pupwedeng ganoon ‘yung galaw (sa third set). Hindi tayo pwedeng pumasok sa Finals na ganoon ang mentality natin or ganyan ang focus natin,” said de Jesus.
“Sabi ko, hindi ko pa nakikitang umaayaw yung UST, so hindi tayo pwedeng mag-relax,” he added.
La Salle had a total of 17 solid rejections, six from Fil-Nigerian Aduke Ogunsanya, while UST had only just eight.
The Lady Spikers also had 11 service aces against one by the Tigresses in the two-hour and eight-minute match.
UST skipper Sisi Rondina scored 16, Laure finished with 14 and Ria Meneses added 10 points, including five blocks.