Photo By: Rina Mutiangpili
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers absorbed their second consecutive loss after losing to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in straight sets, 20-25, 22-25, 17-25, on Wednesday, March 6, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With both teams coming from a loss, La Salle and UST looked to bounce back. The start of the opening frame was a nip-and-tuck affair. The set was tied at 3-all before a 4-0 run from UST forced head coach Ramil de Jesus to regroup. De Jesus’ efforts to ice the Tigresses’ momentum proved futile as Sisi Rondina continued to score for UST. The Golden Tigresses’ lead ballooned to eight, 11-3, before Jolina dela Cruz stopped the bleeding for La Salle. The Lady Spikers showed signs of life after the scoring drought, sparking a 9-2 run and cutting the deficit to a single point, 12-13. DLSU looked on their way to a comeback but UST pulled away, securing another four-point lead, 16-12, heading into the second technical timeout. The defending champions attempted to get back into the set, pulling to as close as two points, 18-20, forcing UST to call for time. The Tigresses regained control off the timeout, extending their lead to four, 22-18. The two-point deficit proved to be the closest the Lady Spikers could get. Just three points away from closing the set, UST never looked back and pulled away, 25-20.
Following a closely contested first frame, the second set was not any different. Both teams exchanged blows. La Salle took an early two-point lead, 5-3, but the Tigresses would not fall behind. Rondina and Eya Laure powered UST’s offense, taking the lead, 8-7, heading into the first technical timeout. The Golden Tigresses continued their roll and built another three point lead, 10-7. A long rally ended by Cheng seemed to bring life to the Lady Spikers. A block by Aduke Ogunsanya, followed by an ace from Michelle Cobb brought the game to a deadlock at 10-all. The set went back-and-forth from that point on. Both teams broke the deadlock by a single point before the other team answered back. The set approached the final deadlock at 22-all coming from a reception error from UST. The window of opportunity opened up for the Lady Spikers but they failed to capitalize on it. Back-to-back errors by Cobb and Julia Ipac brought UST at set point before De Jesus tried to save the set with a timeout. But another error from DLSU sealed the team’s fate.
Down 0-2 in the match, the Lady Spikers started the third set with a three point blitz, 3-0. La Salle tried to take control of the set but Rondina was too much to handle for the green shirts. The UST star sparked a 6-1 run giving the Tigresses a two-point lead, 7-5. De Jesus tried to slow Rondina’s roll with a timeout. The cease fire worked for a while with La Salle making a 3-0 run, giving them the lead 8-7, heading into the first technical timeout. Coming off the timeout, the Golden Tigresses went back to business and regained the lead off a hit from Rondina, 9-8. Cheng and Dela Cruz tried to keep La Salle’s hopes alive tying the game at 12-all, however a series of errors from La Salle gave the Tigresses a four point lead, 16-12, heading into the second technical timeout. The four-point deficit and the two-to-none set lead dampened La Salle’s spirits. Off the timeout, the Golden Tigresses scored two more points, extending the lead to 18-12. A service error by Mafe Galanza capped the UST run. However, the error did nothing to slow Golden Tigresses’ roll as another 4-0 run buried the Lady Spikers in an eight-point hole, 13-21. With the defending champions on the ropes, Rondina went to work, taking the Tigresses to match point, 24-17. A last ditch effort by Cheng sailed out of bounds as La Salle lost the set, 17-25.
It was not a great offensive outing for the Lady Spikers with none of them scoring in double figures. Three Lady Spikers led the team in scoring. Julia Ipac, Aduke Ogunsanya, and Jolina Dela Cruz each tallied eight points. Cheng’s shoulder issues posed a problem for DLSU, scoring just seven points in the game.
On the UST side, the Tigresses did not seem to miss the services of Milena Alessandrini. The Rookie of the Year sustained an injury in their last game and is out for at least two weeks. With Alessandrini out, Sisi Rondina shouldered much of the offensive burden, exploding for 19 points, enough to sweep La Salle.
Catch the DLSU Lady Spikers (3-2) in action in their next game against the UE Lady Warriors on Saturday, March 9, 2 PM at the same venue.