Lady Spikers top Lady Eagles in shocker
Mark Escarlote on Feb 27, 2016 06:16 PM
De La Salle University shocked the defending two-time champion Ateneo de Manila in straight sets to put its six-game losing slump against their bitter rival to a halt.
De La Salle’s long overdue revenge finally came Saturday.
The Lady Spikers ended the three-peat seeking Ateneo de Manila’s two-year, 24-game winning run and handed the Lady Eagles’ first loss in the 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, 25-22, 25-14, 25-18, at the jam-packed Big Dome witnessed by 16,536 crowd.
DLSU, who buried the blue-clad opponents to a 22-10 hole in the telling second frame, found the confidence, skills and swag it lacked in the previous six face-offs with Ateneo to improve its record to 5-1 to remain in second spot behind the 6-1 Lady Eagles.
The win denied Ateneo a chance to make a run for another eliminations sweep like what the Lady Eagles did last year that propelled them directly to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage. DLSU made sure that there will be a Final Four this season.
Setter Kim Fajardo gave the Katipunan-based squad a terrible headache as she registered 13 points built on seven powerful service aces to lead the Lady Spikers to the morale-boosting win. Fajardo also had 16 sets and her leadership and swag inside the court rubbed on to her teammates.
The girls of head coach Ramil De Jesus took advantage of Ateneo’s brittle middle and floor defense as they pounded missiles after missiles in front of the net while hoisting a solid frontline shield to frustrate the Lady Eagles.
The multi-titled mentor before the game reminded his wards of the patented swag and confidence of the Taft-based squad.
“Sinabi ko sa mga bata na hindi tayo pwedeng pumasok sa loob ng court na alam nating dehado tayo,” he said. “Dapat parehas ang laban at hindi pupwedeng iniisip niyo na Malabo tayong manalo. Lahat naman pinagpaguran nila. May one week kaming pahinga and talagang ibinuhos namin doon na pag-aralan ang Ateneo.”
Ara Galang played like she never had the left knee injury that sidelined her in last year’s championship series as she wound up with 10 points from eight kills and a pair of service winners. The graduating hitter was also active on the defensive end, chasing after the ball to come up with three excellent digs. Majoy Baron finished with 10 points, Mika Reyes had nine markers including a pair of kill blocks – her biggest denial coming in the second set when she single-handedly blocked reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez that drew the loud reaction from the fans - while surprise starter Kim Dy added seven.
DLSU was all business after taking the tight first set, racing to an 8-0 lead in the second set to control the tempo.
Ateneo tried to mount a comeback in the third set building a 14-10 lead only to see the Lady Spikers tie it at 15. DLSU poured a 7-2 run to take the advantage, 22-17, and never looked back.
With Ateneo having difficulty in their reception, Valdez’s offense suffered as the Queen Eagle was limited to only 11 points. Valdez had eight perfect receives. Jhoana Maraguinot finished with eight points while Bea De Leon had six. It didn’t help that the Lady Eagles were hounded all game long with 22 errors including 11 in the opening frame.
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