Published on May 2nd, 2017 | by Khyte Mendoza0
La Salle comes back from a set down, stuns Ateneo to move a win away from Championship Repeat
Photo by: Tim Nolasco
One more to repeat!
The De La Salle University Lady Spikers inched closer to the most coveted title after recovering from a set down to stun the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles in four sets, 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-20, in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Tuesday.
After struggling in the first three sets with her errors, Ernestine Tiamzon gathered her bearings, top scoring for La Salle with 15 points and had eight excellent receptions. Kim Dy added 14 markers, while Desiree Cheng and team captain Kim Fajardo chipped in 10 apiece.
This is the first time that DLSU beat Ateneo this season; In the stage where it counts – the Finals. For Kim Dy, they wanted to get back at Ateneo after succumbing to the Blue side twice in the eliminations. Not just that, the Taft spikers are also here to defend the title and win it all for the graduating senior Fajardo
“Siguro may hugot factor kami since hindi kami nanalo nung elimination round”, Dy said, “And siyempre we really want to defend the crown, and we do it for ate Kim [Fajardo].”
In the early part of the first set, both teams came out with guns blazing as they were tied at 9-all. Errors from La Salle gave Ateneo a breathing room as the latter pulled away late, 23-19, and that cushion was enough to bag the first.
With the Lady Spikers down a set, the Green side of the arena went down, and all eyes were on Kim Fajardo; with every DLSU fan hoping that she leads the team once again, like what she always did before.
The same story happened at the start of the second frame as a Jhoana Maraguinot committed a service error to knot the game at 13-all. ADMU, then, left La Salle in the dust mainly because of the Lady Spikers’ miscues, 22-17. The game looked like it was already over.
One. Point. At. A. Time.
The Taft spikers went into a run highlighted by Fajardo’s loaded serves to tie the game at 24-all. DLSU refused to give up, and guess what they leaned on to steal the second set? DEFENSE.
“Kahit down kami hindi naman ako nawalan ng tiwala sa team ko”, Fajardo shared.
Diesel. People can relate La Salle to that. The team needed to heat up so they could wreak havoc, and the next two sets were a testament to that.
In the third canto, the Lady Spikers controlled the pace. They never let the Lady Eagles get a taste of the lead, only letting Coach Tai Bundit’s crew to even the score. An error from Michelle Morente gave DLSU a three-point lead, 12-9. Aduke Ogunsanya unleashed a quick to keep Ateneo at bay, 22-19, before eventually bagging the third.
The Lady Eagles were eyeing to force a deciding set, and it seemed that way as they led La Salle, 18-15, in the fourth set. However, Coach De Jesus knew what to do and called a timeout to calm the girls down.
“Sinabihan niya (Coach De Jesus) kami na, ‘Ano ba gusto niyong gawin?!’, sabi namin, ‘Manalo!’, so nag-back to focus kami”, Dy said.
The Lady Spikers responded emphatically, retaliating with a 10-2 blast to draw first blood in the Finals.
Maraguinot led ADMU with 16 points. Bea De Leon tallied 14 markers and three blocks, while Morente garnered 11 points and 20 digs.
With a win away, Dy warned La Salle of overconfidence and reminded them that they still have much room for improvement heading into Game 2.
“Siyempre given na na we beat them, pero we shouldn’t be too overconfident and [there is still room for] improvement”, said Dy.
The second game of the UAAP Season 79 Finals will be held on Saturday, May 6, 4pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.