UAAP Season 82: DLSU Lady Spikers focused on reclaiming the crown
Mark Escarlote on Feb 11, 2020 11:35 AM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
De La Salle University’s painful collapse of its three-year rule last season is the fuels the burning desire of the Lady Spikers to reclaim lost glory.
The proud Taft-based squad is focused on just one goal: take the title back to Manila this UAAP Season 82.
“Ang nangyari kasi last season was difficult for us,” said team captain Aduke Ogunsanya. “Pero yun ang panghugot this year.”
DLSU had a shaky elimination round last year. The Lady Spikers yielded the twice-to-beat advantage to University of Sto. Tonas in a playoff.
DLSU eventually surrendered the throne after losing to the Tigresses in the Final Four in the Lady Spikers’ first championship absence in 11 years and worst finish since Season 70.
Now raring for redemption after a long wait, DLSU is parading a promising young core guided by reliable veterans in Ogunsanya, setter Michelle Cobb, Tin Tiamzon and libero CJ Saga.
“We have to move on from that upset. First time in a while ‘yun and we’re very disappointed with ourselves. Hindi namin naabot ang gusto naming abutin,” said Tiamzon.
“This year we’re hungry. Very, very hungry,” she added.
Although the Lady Spikers saw the departure of do-it-all hitter Des Cheng last season, DLSU will still have a deadly spiker in sophomore Jolina Dela Cruz, who will slide to open hitter position from utility this year.
The Lady Spikers beefed up its roster with promising talents bannered by towering 6-foot-2 middle Thea Gagate, 6-foot opposite hitter Leila Cruz and libero Justine Jazareno.
Gagate together with Ogunsanya will anchor the vaunted net defense of the Lady Spikers. Cruz is expected to provide added firepower and ceiling for DLSU while Jazareno’s presence gives the Lady Spikers another solid option to take care of the floor defense.
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Towering 19-year old Thea Gagate has a big role to play in DLSU’s drive to get back on top.
The Lady Spikers need her intimidating presence to fortify their net defense as well as an added scoring option at the middle.
The NU-Nazareth School recruit knows what is expected of her but tries to brush off the pressure and just focus on her game.
“I don’t take it too seriously,” said Gagate, the Season 79 high school 1st Best Middle Blocker. “I just work on my own, I don’t put too much pressure on myself kasi may tendency na ma-overpressure.”
Gagate will be put under the microscope in her debut and what good way to test her mettle than to pit the rookie in the much-anticipated rivalry game between DLSU and defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the season-opener.
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