Lady Spikers begin title defense against rival Ateneo

Mark Escarlote on May 02, 2017 04:42 AM
Lady Spikers begin title defense against rival Ateneo
De La Salle University is out to avenge its pair of elims setbacks against Ateneo de Manila in 79th UAAP women's volleyball tournament best-of-three title series opener.

De La Salle University found itself on the losing end of its first two meetings with archrival Ateneo de Manila.

But the Lady Spikers have already put those setbacks behind and are now ready to defend their title when the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals series begins Tuesday at the Big Dome.

Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream.

Now on its ninth straight Finals appearance and sixth in a row against the Lady Eagles, the Lady Spikers are out to claim their 10th crown against a team they have yet to defeat this season.

DLSU dropped both of its elimination round matches against Ateneo. The Lady Spikers absorbed a painful 24-26, 24-26, 25-21, 17-25, in their first meeting before slipping again 25-12, 20-25, 21-25, 19-25 in their rematch last April 18.

“Actually, disappointing talaga kasi pride 'yung pinag-uusapan doon,” said Majoy Baron.

The fourth year middle blocker continued that those losses gave them motivation to improve their game and win it all at the expense of the same squad they dethroned from its two-year reign.    

“Tiningnan namin kung bakit kami natalo and in-improve namin 'yun sa training,” she said. “Inisip na lang namin na hindi naman siya importanteng game and kailangan namin mag-move on.”

The Season 78 Best Blocker is confident that they can make a repeat of last year.

“Iba din kasi pag apak sa Finals, nagbabago talaga 'yung intensity,” said Baron. “Personally, confident ako kasi last season kami 'yung champion.”

DLSU leads the storied rivalry’s championship head-to-head, 3-2. And outgoing setter and skipper Kim Fajardo is determined to win it all once again in her swan song.

“Sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, na though hindi naman ako mag-isa, kasama ko naman sila, pero ako naman yung graduating, ako naman yung setter, ako yung captain, ako yung sandalan,” she said. “So ako dapat yung matatag. Sinasabi ko na sa sarili ko na aakuin ko ito. Pero hindi ko sinasabi na kaya ko ito mag-isa, kasi ayun, solid kami talaga.”

The Lady Spikers advanced in the Finals after showing University of Sto. Tomas the exit door,  25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13, in the Final Four.

Aside from Baron and Fajardo, DLSU will also bank on hitters Kim Dy, Tin Tiamzon and Desiree Cheng, Aduke Ogunsanya and top libero Dawn Macandili. 

Game 2 of the Finals is on May 6 while Game 3, if necessary, is on May 10.




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