LA Salle survived some shaky moments while trying to put away upset-conscious Far Eastern University, 25-15, 27-25, 25-21, on Wednesday at the MOA Arena to reach the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball finals.
Apart from tense rallies toward the the end of the second and third sets, the twice-to-beat Lady Spikers played with consistency and a sense of urgency this time, much different than the squad that absorbed a five-set loss to the Lady Tamaraws just four days ago.
La Salle set up a fifth consecutive title showdown with Ateneo, which is looking to complete a hat-trick of titles.
The first match of the best-of-three championship is set on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Isa sa pinaka mahirap na parte ’yung pumasok sa finals na galing ka sa do-or-die situation unlike doon sa kalaban medyo nakapahinga one week nakapag prepare para sa game namin,” said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus.
“So mixed emotions, natutuwa kasi nakapasok sa Finals then, isa pa, medyo kapos ’yung preparation,” he added.
Graduating players Mika Reyes and Ara Galang led the way for the Lady Spikers with 10 points apiece, while third year spiker Kim Dy added eight.
Although there were tense moments, De Jesus felt the Lady Spikers needed to experience that ahead of the title series.
“‘Yun kasing situation na ’yun, ’yun ang gusto kong makita sa team na down kami pero kumakapit. Kasi mostly ng panalo namin behind ’ yung kalaban talaga sobrang layo, so nito ngang third set malayo pero muntik pang umabot ang FEU so ’yun ang gusto kong makita sa character nila na madevelop pa.”
The Lady Spikers scored three of the match’s last four points capped by a service ace of Kim Fajardo.
“Siguro nandon ’yung maturity ng iba then ‘yung iba naman hindi rin makasabay doon sa klase ng maturity na ’yan kahit papano hindi ma-overcome ’yung pressure so ’yun ang malaking bagay na dapat maayos,” said de Jesus.
Bernadeth Pons and Toni Basas scored with 10 points each for FEU.