DE La Salle sent defending champion Ateneo crashing with a rousing 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 25-15 victory in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Lady Spikers' rookies, led by Thea Gagate, gave a good account of themselves in their season debut as La Salle scored its seventh straight victory against the Lady Eagles since the 2017 Finals.
Graduating spiker Tin Tiamzon delivered the goods for La Salle, finishing with 17 points built on 14 attacks, two blocks and an ace while sophomore Jolina Dela Cruz chipped in 13 points.
The 6-foot-3 Gagate made an impressive debut with 10 points off five kills and five blocks while Leila Cruz had nine markers. Fellow rookie Baby Jyne Soreno and team captain Aduke Ogunsanya added eight apiece.
Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro remained winless against La Salle since he took charge last year as the Lady Eagles dropped to a 1-1 record in a tie with University of the Philippines.
Kat Tolentino was held to just six points as rookie Faith Nisperos was the lone double-digit scorer of the Lady Eagles with 13 points. Jho Maraguinot had nine markers in a losing effort.
Tiamzon also provided tremendous floor defense for La Salle with 13 excellent receptions and 12 digs helping out rookie libero Justin Jazareno, who had 14 digs. Setter Michelle Cobb dished out 14 excellent sets as they outplayed Ateneo in spiking, 53-33.
Despite giving up 33 errors and dropping the second set, La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus’s system helped the Young Lady Spikers in overcoming their first game jitters in front of 12, 907.
“Very crucial na game for us isa pa pag ganitong first game (andyan) yung tinatawag na first game jitters,” De Jesus said. “Pero kita naman natin kahit bata yung players namin medyo nakikita mo nawawala pero nakakabalik din.”
“Hindi madali yung pinagdadaanan namin this game sabi ko basta tiwala lang,” he added.
De Jesus’s system also shackled Ateneo star Tolentino in attacking with four-of-51 clip.