La Salle displayed its might and beat rival Ateneo in four thrilling sets, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20, to kick-start its title bid in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.
Baby Soreno led the Lady Spikers with 17 points off 13 attacks, three blocks, and an ace while Alleiah Malaluan finished with a triple-double of 15 points, 15 excellent digs, and 11 excellent receptions.
“For us, usually ang hardest game namin is the first one and it’s very important to us,” said Lady Spikers assistant coach Benson Bocboc, who filled in for head coach Ramil De Jesus in the post-game press conference. “Of course, our team is new so lahat ng adjustments talagang kailangan gawin and nagkataon lang na Ateneo rin kaagad yung kalaban kaya yung first set up to the second set actually adjustment period pa rin e.”
After splitting the first two sets, La Salle went on a tear in the third frame and led by as much as seven points and never looked back to take a 2-1 set lead which was enough to give them more zeal going into the fourth set.
Thea Gagate contributed 11 points for La Salle while Fifi Sharma and Jolina Dela Cruz added 10 and nine points, respectively. Justine Jazareno manned the floor with 25 excellent digs and 15 excellent receptions while
Ateneo’s Faith Nisperos’ 24-point outing went down the drain as the Blue Eagles failed to sustain their hot start .
Meantime, University of Santo Tomas encountered rough sailing but still beat Far Eastern University in three sets, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21, while National University downed Adamson, 25-15, 25-23, 25-18.
The Tigresses bucked the early exit of Imee Hernandez – she suffered from a sprain in the opening canto off a bad fall – to outlast the Lady Tamaraws.
In posting their first win, the Tigresses also banked on Eya Laure and Camille Victoria who combined for 26 points with the former scoring 13 off attacks apart from a block.
In the second game, Michaela Belen and Alyssa Solomon took charge for a young NU squad to defeat Adamson also in straight sets.
Belen fired 14 points off 13 attacks and a block, Solomon led all scorers with 15 points built on 11 kills, three blocks, and Princess Robles chipped in 12 points for NU, which shared the top spot with UST with a 1-0 record.
University of the Philippines also emerged triumphant, besting University of the East, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23.
Alyssa Bertolano led UP with a game-high 20 points off 18 attacks, an ace, and a block along with six excellent digs. (Carlo Anolin)