La Salle edges UST in 5 sets to start UAAP 85 campaign

De La Salle University squeaked past University of Santo Tomas in a thriller, 25-20, 16-25, 25-8, 15-25, 16-14, for a winning start in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Spikers reached match point after back-to-back points by Jolina Dela Cruz, an off-the-block hit and an ace, 14-13, but Leila Cruz committed a costly error to tie the game.

However, Milena Alessandrini sent her service long while Eya Laure’s attack in the ensuing play went out as well to give DLSU the win.

“Sobrang intense talaga. Yung nangyari breaks of the game eh, talagang kahit sino na lang doon. Sinwerte kami sa amin pumanig yung break,” said Lady Spikers interim head coach Noel Orcullo.

DLSU had a flat start, trailing 3-12 in the first set but through prized rookie Angel Canino and Dela Cruz, they climbed back and took the frame, 25-20.

The Golden Tigresses though retaliated with a 25-16 second salvo to level but the Lady Spikers’ clapback was stronger, running away in the fourth by a mile, 25-8.

UST, though, regained its confidence in the fourth and routed the DLSU with Alessandrini and Laure leading the charge to force a decider, 25-15.

Canino lived up to the hype and had 18 points in her debut, eight coming off the first frame, to go with 11 excellent receptions.

Dela Cruz was all over the floor with 14 points, 10 excellent receptions, and 10 digs, while Cruz chimed in 12 points including five kill blocks.