UNIVERSITY of the Philippines made short work of De La Salle-Dasmariñas, 25-21, 25-12, 25-22, on Saturday to book the first finals berth in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam at the Arena in San Juan City.
It took only 68 minutes for the Lady Maroons, who continued to miss the services of skipper Tots Carlos due to ankle injury, to dispatch the Lady Patriots.
Caryl Sandoval led the charge with 11 points, Jessma Ramos and rookie Nicole Magsarile chipped in eight hits apiece, while Marist Layug, Lorie Bernardo and Justine Dorog added six markers each.
The Lady Maroons finished with a 4-1 win-loss record clinching a championship berth, boosting their bid for two titles after topping the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference.
“It’s a good feeling to be in the finals, being in the finals makes a team and a coach feel and learn how to win and in the finals it’s do or die, lose or win,” said UP head coach Godfrey Okumu. “You don’t have any option but to win. I hope it’s a good legacy, something we’ve started being in the finals and we’ll continue all the way to the UAAP.”
Carlos will return to action in the winner-take-all finals on December 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena, with the Lady Maroons likely facing University of Santo Tomas, which only needs to win one of its last two elimination games.
“It’s nice to have an opportunity to play in the finals again against a team that has beaten you twice,” Okumu said referring to their elimination round losses to UST both in PSL and PVL. “I hope we’re going to score well with them. I think we have a date with UST on the twentieth.”
The Kenyan coach admitted that his team is struggling because his wards are in exam week.
“I can’t blame the team for struggling because this is the final week for the academics so we have tests, assignments, people don’t sleep much and going to the final,” he said. “I hope we get good results next week and we’ll have an interesting game.”
UP committed 33 errors in the match but still scored an easy win, with a 34-12 spiking disparity.
Basilyn Delfin had 13 points for De La Salle-Dasmarinas, which fell to 0-3 and will take on UST next week on Thursday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.