Manila, Philippines – Defending champion La Salle orchestrated another great escape act by hacking out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6 victory over Ateneo to inch closer to winning its third straight UAAP women’s volleyball crown.
In front of 17,480 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Lady Archers bucked two lackluster sets through the inspired plays of Ara Galang and Michelle Gumabao to fashion out a sequel of their similar win over the same team in the first round last January.
La Salle can wrap the series with another win on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Medyo na-intimidate sila dahil medyo madaming tao na nagpapalakas sa team pero naging composed lang sila at naniwala sa sarili,” said coach Ramil de Jesus.
Galang had 17 points while Gumabao added 15 for the Taft-based volleybelles, who endured two hours and 48 unforced errors to prevail in the series opener.
Ateneo’s Dzi Gervacio got the crowd going with consecutive aces in the second set before Fille Cainglet took the scoring cudgels from Alyssa Valdez, who was converted to a quicker from open spiker.
But Galang led La Salle’s fightback with an assortment of spikes while Gumabao made key hits late in the third and fourth sets.
A big revelation for La Salle was Cyd Demecillo who completed the job for Guamabao and Galang with clutch hits.
“Lamang na lamang na kami dun pero napabayaan sa kaka-error,” said Ateneo mentor Roger Gorayeb, who can only scratch his head in disbelief. “Second time nangyari ulit, we just have to learn from this mistake. La Salle played better.”
In the men’s side, National University also crawled back from a two-set deficit to stun defending champion Far Eastern University, 16-25, 18-25, 25-13, 25-17, 15-8, in their own best-of-three series.
Former FEU spikers Peter Torres, Jan Berlin Pagkalinawan and Reyson Fuentes carried the Bulldogs in their comeback trail to nip the Tamaraws.
NU, coached by Dante Alinsunurin, goes for the jugular on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Bulldogs have never tasted a championship in their long but forgotten stint in men’s volleyball.
Torres led the way with 18 points while Paglinawan and Fuentes added 14 and 12 markers, respectively. They were aided by team skipper Rueben Inaudito who fired 16.
The Bulldogs struggled at the start, allowing the Tamaraws to take the first two sets. But they were able to block 16 shots and made key hits in the final three frames.
“Masyado po kaming nagmamadali na parang gusto namin gawin agad e pumatay ng bola,” said Torres. “Pero nagdahan-dahan kami at nag focus sa depensa.” (Jonas Terrado)