La Salle Lady Spikers beat UST Tigresses in straight sets to gain twice-to-beat advantage
Desiree Cheng and the Lady Spikers score their 10th win in 12 outings. Jerome Ascano

DEFENDING champion La Salle secured a twice-to-beat advantage after beating University of Sto. Tomas, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21, on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

The Lady Spikers matched the Ateneo Lady Eagles' 10-2 win-loss record with two matches each left in their elimination-round schedule, leaving the longtime rivals to fight it out for the top seeding in the Final Four. 

UST dropped to 7-5 in a three-way tie with National University and University of the Philippines.

Desiree Cheng scored 13 points, while Kim Dy had 12 points before leaving early in the third set when she sprained her left ankle.

Ernestine Tiamzon added 11 for the Lady Spikers, who are in the semifinals for the ninth straight year.

Coach Ramil de Jesus hopes they can make a strong start to the semis this time.

 “Last year ganoon din kami pero talo kami nung semis, nung first (game) so sana maiba naman,” said De Jesus, referring to their first match in the Final Four last season when they lost to Far Eastern University.

“Kung dumating ‘yung day na umabot ‘yung semis, sana mas maganda ang laruin namin compared last year,” he added.

La Salle hit 11 service aces while the Tigresses had only three in the match that lasted an hour and 36 minutes.

Sisi Rondina scored 13, while EJ Laure and Mary Dominique Pacres had 10 points each.

UST will face UP on Sunday and NU on April 8.

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