Flashback Friday: Ateneo-La Salle first round encounters
Mark Escarlote on Mar 03, 2017 06:53 PM
A look back at the storied Ateneo-La Salle first round eliminations encounter through years.
We are again just a few hours away from witnessing another epic battle between this generation’s storied UAAP women’s volleyball rivalry between the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles and the repeat-seeking De La Salle University Lady Spikers.
For half a decade, we were treated with exciting clashes and encounters that greatly boosted the rise in popularity of the sport.
Before a new chapter of the rivalry begins Saturday at the MOA Arena with both teams looking to break a 5-1 win-loss record tie at the top spot in the scheduled 4:00 p.m. match, let us look back at the previous five first round encounters of the blue-clad Lady Eagles and green-wearing Lady Spikers.
December 3, 2011
DLSU def. Ateneo (21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-21)
Ateneo de Manila heading into the match held an early lead after sweeping their first two assignments against University of Sto. Tomas and University of the East.
The Lady Eagles under Roger Gorayeb were considered as a rising power with its Fab Five composed of skipper Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, Aillyse Nacachi, Gretchen Ho and setter Jem Ferrer.
A recruit from UST high school named Alyssa Valdez during that time was just making a name for herself so was sophomore libero Denden Lazaro.
Fresh from a four set win over Adamson, La Salle paraded a veteran core behind skipper Cha Cruz, then third-year players Michele Gumabao and Aby Marano and newcomers Ara Galang and middle Mika Reyes.
With Cainglet and Valdez connecting early, the Lady Eagles scored a shocker over the Lady Spikers taking the opening set witnessed by 2,713 crowd at The Arena in San Juan.
DLSU stayed composed and calm as Marano, Cruz and Gumabao led the way and the Lady Spikers recovered to take the next three sets to silence Ateneo.
Marano had a monster game scoring 18 points, 16 of which came from attacks and a pair of kill blocks coupled with 11 digs and seven excellent receptions. Gumabao got 16 anchored on 11 attacks and four kill blocks while the comely Cruz had 14 markers including five from the service line with 11 digs and seven excellent receives.
Cainglet carried the fight for the Lady Eagles with 19 attacks, four kill blocks and an ace for a game-high 24 points. Valdez in her first try of the then budding rivalry had 10 points with four coming off aces while adding 15 digs and four excellent receptions.
January 12, 2013
DLSU def. Ateneo (26-28, 21-25, 25-13, 25-21, 15-13)
Ateneo was riding the crest of a six-game winning streak when they met DLSU, which was then on a five-game romp after dropping a heartbreaking five-set loss to University of Sto. Tomas to open the season, in a rematch of Season 74 Finals to end the first round of eliminations.
Both teams had a week to prepare for the match.
The intact Lady Eagles pounded the Lady Spikers with a blitzkrieg in the first two sets with the sophomore Valdez and graduating Cainglet spearheading the assault.
DLSU mounted a counterattack in a third set rout to get its bearing before forcing a decider and eventually outlasting Ateneo in a two-hour, 31-minute match in a jampacked The Arena in San Juan.
Four Lady Spikers scored in double figures all thanks to rookie setter Kim Fajardo, who passed her first Ateneo-La Salle test with 42 excellent sets just eight setups less of the production of Lady Eagles playmaker Jem Ferrer. Ara Galang had 18 points while Mika Reyes scattered 16 points from 12 attacks and four kill blocks. Michele Gumabao finished with 12 and team captain Aby Marano had 10.
Valdez in a lost cause was all over the place with 23 points from 16 spikes, four aces and three kill blocks. Cainglet had 16 markers.
January 12, 2014
DLSU def. Ateneo (25-16, 25-20, 25-16)
With the rivalry already set, a small venue could no longer accommodate a huge Ateneo-La Salle match crowd. The battle was held at the MOA Arena witnessed by 10,600 fans.
Despite key player Michele Gumabao foregoing her final year, La Salle was on a rampage after five games while Ateneo under a new mentor in Tai Bundit of Thailand after parting ways with Roger Gorayeb was on also on a five-game winning streak after dropping its first match against the Dindin and Jaja Santiago led National University.
But unlike in their previous two first round meetings, the Lady Spikers dominated the battle in just 76 minutes against a young team led by Alyssa Valdez after the departure of their Fab Five the year before. It didn’t help that a promising newbie in Ana Gopico went down with a knee injury early in the season.
Mika Reyes was the hero of the Taft based squad, snatching 13 points from seven attacks and half of the 12 kill blocks scored by La Salle. Ara Galang had 10 markers.
It was a disappointing outing for the Lady Eagles with only Alyssa Valdez scoring in double figures with 11 while then new setter Jia Morado had only eight excellent sets. Ateneo also gave away 26 points off errors.
January 11, 2015
Ateneo def. DLSU (25-22, 25-27, 16-25, 25-14, 15-9)
It was a battle for the no.1 spot with their clean records at stake.
The first round encounter of Ateneo and La Salle saw a crowd of 17,988 (according to the official stat sheet) at the MOA Arena.
Sharing a 6-0 card with their bitter rivals, the Lady Spikers were out for blood after their humiliating defeat in Season 76 Finals with DLSU squandering a thrice-to-beat advantage to the ‘heartstrong’ Ateneo.
The Lady Spikers had its revenge within reach after three sets but Alyssa Valdez and Amy Ahomiro brought the Lady Eagles back to life to steal the game – Ateneo’s first opening round win against DLSU in a long while.
Valdez was a monster with 26 big points with 20 coming off kills while Ahomiro had 13 markers for the Lady Eagles, which survived to take the victory despite giving away 46 points off errors.
It was also a classic match of setters with Jia Morado dishing out 32 excellent sets, just one more than the production of DLSU’s Kim Fajardo.
Only Ara Galang scored in double figures with 11 for the Lady Spikers, which committed 36 errors.
February 27, 2016
DLSU def. Ateneo (25-22, 25-14, 25-18)
Coming into the game, DLSU was down with a six-game losing skid to Ateneo in their UAAP head-to-head which started from the last two games of Season 76 Finals.
The Lady Spikers’ were in dire need of a win to get their morale back.
The match saw the return of Ara Galang after a harrowing left knee injury in the stepladder semifinals of Season 77 that left DLSU an easy picking in the championship for Ateneo’s historic sweep of the season.
DLSU did get its revenge more than a year ago, a rout to be exact.
Setter Kim Fajardo scored a career-best 13 points with seven coming off aces that exposed the weakened service reception of Ateneo after the departure of Denden Lazaro and Ella de Jesus on top of her 16 excellent sets.
Ara Galang and Majoy Baron had 10 markers each while Mika Reyes scored nine including the much-talked about single block on Alyssa Valdez’s backrow attack.
Valdez was the only Lady Eagle in double figures with 11 in a hellish 10-of-33 attacking clip.
It was the win that helped DLSU get its confidence back.
Ateneo will even their elims head-to-head in the second round but that first round win proved to be the turning point for the Lady Spikers to reclaim the crown.