UAAP Season 81: Lady Spikers drub Lady Eagles, clinch semis seat
Mark Escarlote on Apr 13, 2019 05:32 PM
Defending three-time chanmpion De La Salle University booked a Final Four ticket after sweeping Ateneo de Manila University.
Just a one-sided affair.
Defending three-time champion De La Salle University whipped archrival Ateneo de Manila University into submission with a clinical, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, dismantling on Saturday to clinch a semifinals berth in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Big Dome.
The Lady Spikers steamrolled past the Lady Eagles for their 11th straight postseason appearance and joined Ateneo in the Final Four. DLSU improved its win-loss record to 9-3 and put Ateneo’s 10-game run to a screeching halt as the Lady Spikers completed their elimination round domination of the Lady Eagles in front of a 15,854-strong crowd.
Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz, Lourdes Clemente, Aduke Ogunsanya and May Luna did most of the damage for DLSU, which defeated Ateneo, 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, in their season-opening encounter.
The Lady Spikers took advantage of the Lady Eagles’ error-plagued game and exploited Ateneo’s spotty defense and service reception for a masterful win.
"Hindi ko in-expect na ganito kabilis matatapos ang game. Well, favor naman sa amin, nakakatuwa rin. Naglaro ng maayos ang mga bata today and mas gusto nilang manalo,” said DLSU coach Ramil De Jesus, whose squad neutralized Ateneo's defensive wall as the Lady Eagles failed to score a single kill block after averaging 2.62 kill blocks per set heading into the match.
Dela Cruz finished with 14 points, including 11 from attacks, while Clemente, who saw limited minutes against Ateneo in the first round, had 10 markers off eight spikes and two kill blocks for the Taft-based squad. Ogunsanya scored 10 points while Luna got nine for DLSU, which landed eight aces and had 37 kill points.
Desiree Cheng was quiet with just four points but was active on floor defense with 13 digs and seven excellent receptions in the Lady Spikers' 88-minute victory.
DLSU showed great composure in the closing stretch of the third set as the Lady Spikers weathered Ateneo's scary rally from a 22-16 deficit. The Lady Eagles breathed down Lady Spikers' necks, 22-21, on a Maddie Madayag ace.
Ateneo setter Deanna Wong was called for an overreach in the next play before Ponggay Gaston answered with an off the block kill for the Lady Eagles but Clemente put DLSU at match point on an off speed hit. Clemente overcooked her serve as Ateneo saved a match point before Aduke Ogunsanya put the game away with a runner.
The Lady Spikers broke free from a close 14-13 game in the opening frame with a blistering 8-0 scoring spurt for a 22-13 lead. Ateneo saved two set points before Dela Cruz pounded a crosscourt hit to take the frame.
DLSU buried the Lady Eagles in the second set, 18-7, on a Cheng hit. Dela Cruz pushed the Lady Spikers at set point, 24-12, but committed an attack error on the next play. Ateneo surrendered the set when rookie Vannie Gandler sent her serve straight to the net. The Lady Eagles only scored three attacks in the frame with 10 of their second set points coming off DLSU’s errors.
Despite the loss, Ateneo remained on top of the standings with a 10-2 slate.
Ponggay Gaston scored seven points to lead Ateneo while Madayag, Bea De Leon and Kat Tolentino, who averaged 15.09 points per game before the match, were limited to only six points each.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles