LA Salle joined defending champion Ateneo in the semifinals after the Lady Spikers turned back National University, 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 27-25, in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.
Mika Reyes and team captain Ara Galang came away with 15 and 14 points, respectively, for La Salle, which improved to 9-1 overall behind unbeaten defending champion Ateneo (10-0).
The Taft-based school romped to its seventh straight Final Four appearance despite a slow start and near collapse late in a match that took almost two hours to finish.
“Ang pangit ng atake namin kaya nagpalit ako ng tao sa huli,” admitted La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus. “Nagbibigay naman ako ng instructions pero hindi ko alam bakit blangko ang utak ng mga bata, sa first set pa lang nakikita ko ‘yun.”
Justine Tiu, who had three points for La Salle, was fielded in the fourth set to replace Cyd Demecillo.
“’Yung attitude niya na papalo kung papalo nakikita ko ‘yun sa practice at alam kong ‘yun ang makakaya niyang gawin na hindi kayang gawin ni Cyd (noong fourth set). Although may mga unforced errors siya, malaking bagay ang nagawa niya,” said de Jesus of Tiu.
Up by two sets to one, the Lady Spikers were almost dragged to a decider when they trailed, 19-22, in the fourth set.
But an exchange of errors from both teams later tied the match at 25.
La Salle scored on a spike for match point, but it was NU standout Jaja Santiago’s spike which went out that sealed the victory for the Lady Spikers.
Santiago unloaded 25 points for NU, while Myla Pablo added 13.
The Lady Bulldogs fell to a 4-6 win-loss card.