Co-written by: Genrev Villamin
Photo by: Flavius Dulce
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers avenged their first round loss against the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses with a four-set win, 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 26-24, yesterday, March 31, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The game’s beginning proved to be a difficult task for the Lady Spikers as they struggled with early errors from net touch violations and failed attacks. UST led La Salle, 8-4, at the first technical timeout after a net touch violation on Lourdes Clemente. The Lady Spikers remained kept themselves within striking distance by cutting the deficit to two, 14-16, at the second break. However, the Golden Tigresses pulled away with three straight points off the timeout. An ace from Roldan put them to set point, 24-18, before they took the set, 25-21.
The succeeding sets shifted the momentum in favor of the Lady Spikers, though it was no simple challenge. An attacking error from EJ Laure gave la Salle a 4-1 lead. On the other hand, a mis-hit by Jolina Dela Cruz tied the game at 5 before Tin Tiamzon’s error gave the lead to UST, 6-5. La Salle regained the driver’s seat at 10-9. They then came up with a 6-1 run that saw a Desiree Cheng block on Laure and an Aduke Ogunsanya denial on Dimdim Pacres. Dela Cruz joined the block party with a rejection on Sisi Rondina to as the Lady Spikers put up their biggest lead, 18-11. UST clawed their way back with a 6-1 run, but DLSU relied on their champion defense to take the second set, 25-23.
A service error by May Luna put the Lady Spikers behind the Golden Tigresses, 9-12, in the third set. But, the same set also saw a 10-point run from the defending champions turn that three-point deficit into a seven-point edge, 19-12. Cheng located an open corner to put La Salle up, 22-14, before a net touch violation on Laure put the Lady Spikers to set point, 24-17. But, Ogunsanya shut down the door on UST, 25-19, to post a pivotal 2-1 set lead.
The fourth set was a rather close game between the two teams. With UST determined to take the game into a fifth set, La Salle held up their defenses against their hungry opponents. An ace by Tiamzon gave them an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout. But, the Golden Tigresses would not let go as the set was still tied until 20-all. Marionne Alba served up an ace and Cheng denied Rondina to give La Salle a breathing room ahead, 22-20. The Lady Spikers committed two errors that brought up the stakes and tied the game at 24-all. Laure had a chance to put UST to set point, but Clemente came up with an emphatic block as La Salle ended the set with the win, 26-24.
Team captain Desiree Cheng surpassed her recent career-high performance against NU with a whopping 20 points on 14 attacks, three kill blocks, and three service aces.
The Lady Spikers now sit at solo second behind their archrivals Ateneo Lady Eagles. They carry with them a win-loss record of 7-3.
The DLSU Lady Spikers will face the Adamson Lady Falcons on Sunday, April 7, 2 PM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.