Photo by: Flavius Dulce
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers absorbed a 1-3 defeat to the University of Sto Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, 14-25, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25 in a play-off for number two earlier today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
UST immediately jumped off to a 4-1 advantage following two consecutive errors by La Salle. Cherry Rondina then pushed their lead to five, 8-3 with a crosscourt hit that sent them ahead coming into the first technical timeout. Jolina Dela Cruz inched her team closer with a down the line kill, 10-13, but the Tigresses proved too strong for the defending champions. While the Taft-based squad attempted to rally themselves back, the Espana-based team wasted no time and blasted an imposing 9-3 run to finish the set in 25 minutes of play.
Contrary to the lopsided opening set, it was a different story in the second frame. Both squads were neck and neck until a service error by May Luna broke the deadlock and gave the opponent a two-point advantage, 9-7. In just a moment, the Green and White found itself staring at an eight-point deficit, 7-15 after 6-0 run by UST. To counter this, La Salle hopped on to their own 8-2 run, bringing themselves back in contention, 15-17. Eya Laure’s back-to-back down the line hits brought the Golden Tigresses to set point, 24-18. The Lady Spikers showed composure and cut the disadvantage to one, 23-24, before yielding the set.
This time around, La Salle got the upperhand in the beginning of the set, 6-1 following a Dela Cruz kill block, which immediately vanished as Rondina challenged the blockers to tie the score at seven apiece. DLSU trailed UST since then, but a service ace by Aduke Ogunsanya and another kill block by Dela Cruz switched up the tempo for the Green side. The Lady Spikers refused to wave the white flag and extended the game into a fourth canto.
The teams were nip-and-tuck, until a crosscourt spike by team captain Rondina gave her squad a four-point lead, 9-5, but a 5-0 run by the Lady Spikers capped by Luna’s down the line hit changed the tides for her squad, 10-9. Coach Kungfu Reyes’ timeout deemed effective as it transferred the advantage to them, 16-13 heading into the second technical timeout. From then on, UST’s spectacular floor defense partnered with DLSU’s errors proved too costly as it handed the opposing squad the victory.
Dela Cruz led the way for La Salle with 12 points, while Desiree Cheng and Luna chipped in nine apiece.
On the flipped side, Rondina scored a whopping 29 markers, and Laure added 17 of her own.
Both teams will face off against each other in the Final Four on Sunday, May 5 at the same venue.