Lady Spikers clinch Final 4 bonus with 5-set thriller over Adamson

Angel Canino and De La Salle University needed to dig deep to survive Adamson University in a thriller, 25-17, 25-27, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9, and clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Wednesday. 

The 19-year-old rookie sensation out of De La Salle-Zobel unleashed a career-high 28 points on 22 attacks, five blocks, and a service ace she laced with 19 excellent receptions, and six digs. She also made seven of her points in the decider. 

The Lady Spikers rose to 11-1 while dropping the Lady Falcons to solo fourth at 8-4, below idle National University and University of Santo Tomas at 8-3. 

De La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo rued the team’s 12 of their 27 errors in the second set that allowed Adamson to level. 

“Yung second set medyo ang dami namin naging lapses lalo na yung attacking error ang dami… so yung breaks nung second set yun yung nakaadvantage yung Adamson nung nakuha na nila, nagkaroon ng kumpyansa. Siguro kung nakuha namin yung second set, siguro medyo bababa ang kumpyansa nila pagdating ng third set eh nabigyan ng pagkakataon,” said Orcullo.

“Buti na lang kumapit at least nakuha sa tiyaga, sabi nga namin tiyagain lang, gapangin natin. Lamang sila ng set? Gapangin natin. Nag respond naman sila nung fifth set,” he added after the two-hour 45-minute match.

Adamson opened the fifth frame with back-to-back points but that was it as the Lady Spikers punished their foes from all departments and scored eight unanswered points, 8-2. 

Canino tallied four points, Shevana Laput contributed two and Jolina Dela Cruz added two service aces in that telling run. 

De La Salle was on the verge of getting a 2-0 advantage at 25-24 but Canino and Jyne Soreño committed two straight errors before Trisha Tubu drilled a crosscourt spike for the Adamson equalizer, 27-25. 

The Lady Spikers were ahead in the latter part of the third, 23-22, when Kate Santiago, Lucille Almonte, and Ckyle Tagsip came through with a point apiece to send the Lady Falcons to a set away from the win, 25-23. 

But it was De La Salle that came out on top of the close fourth salvo as it quickly atoned for Dela Cruz’s crosscourt hit that went wide as Thea Gagate denied Tagsip’s attempt to cross the ball, 25-23. 

Gagate also set her new career-best with 22 points on 19 spikes and three blocks, while Dela Cruz added 21 points and 13 receptions.