UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL: DLSU survives UST scare
De La Salle University squeezed past a fiesty University of Sto. Tomas side.
Defending champion De La Salle University bucked a fourth set collapse to eke out a 25-20, 17-25, 25-22, 15-25, 15-8, win over University of Sto. Tomas Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.
DLSU joined National University in the opening day winners’ list and spoiled the 28-point performance of Sisi Rondina.
“Talagang expected namin na hindi ganun kadaling talunin ang UST,” said DLSU coach Ramil De Jesus, whose squad’s last opening day loss was in Season 75 against. “Kahit sa UniGames, medyo nahirapan ‘yung team namin. Although maraming bago dun sa lineup so maraming napapaikot na tao.”
Reigning Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron scored 19 points off 12 kills, five kill blocks and a pair of aces to lead the Lady Spikers. Des Cheng finished with 12 markers while Aduke Ogunsanya had 10 for DLSU.
Dawn Macandili, the Asia's 2nd Best Libero in last year's edition of the AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship, got 35 digs and 19 excellent receptions for the Lady Spikers.
Kianna Dy, who was nursing a right knee injury (hyperextended), played in just four sets with nine points while Tin Tiamzon also made nine for the Taft-based squad. Sophomore setter Michelle Cobb was impressive on her debut starting role as playmaker, tallying 37 excellent sets in DLSU 51-attack conversion.
The Lady Spikers suffered a beating in the fourth frame with Tigresses ace spiker Rondina doing most of the damage.
But the battle-tested squad regrouped in the fifth, racing to 5-0 lead capped by Cobb’s back-to-back aces.
The Tigresses, behind battalion of fans cheering them on, mounted a rally to close the gap, 6-5. DLSU with reigning Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron leading the way built a 10-6 cushion only to see UST score two straight points to inch closer, 10-8, on a Rondina kill.
UST committed three straight errors that gave DLSU some breathing space, 13-8. Tin Tiamzon pounded a kill to put the Lady Spikers at match point before Cobb sealed the victory with a block on Rondina.
The Tigresses dominated the fourth set as UST buried Lady Spikers, 16-6, in the frame that ballooned to 20-8. DLSU committed 12 errors in the fourth set.
Rondina was two points shy of duplicating her career-high 30 points she registered two years ago in a five-set loss to Adamson. The Cebuana star, who won three beach volleyball titles in her four-year career but still in search for an indoor crown, had 25 attacks, two aces and a kill block for UST.
Fil-Italian rookie Milena Alessandrini debuted with 18 points for the Tigresses.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles