La Salle seals Final 4 top seed while extends dominance over Ateneo

De La Salle University asserted its dominance over archrival Ateneo de Manila University, taking a 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 sweep, and securing the top seed in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.

This victory marked the Lady Spikers’ 12th consecutive win against the Blue Eagles, a streak that has lasted for six years and is ongoing.

The last time Ateneo defeated De La Salle was on April 8, 2017 (Season 79 second round), with a 12-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 victory.

Moreover, the Lady Spikers improved to a 12-1 record to secure pole position heading to the Final Four, while the Blue Eagles fell to sixth place with a 4-9 record.

“Medyo slow start kami eh so pinaalala lang namin na play with pride, hindi tayo pupwedeng nagrerelax dahil yung Ateneo lumalaban,” said Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

When Ateneo closed the gap to 21-19, De La Salle’s blocking came into play, denying three consecutive attempts, with one from Jolina Dela Cruz and two from Thea Gagate, before Shevana Laput’s drop ball secured the second frame for her team, 25-19.

A late surge by Fifi Sharma, Gagate, and Laput propelled the Lady Spikers in the third set, turning a close 18-16 lead into a 25-18 victory to end the match in just one hour and 35 minutes.

Six-foot-two rookie Laput scored a new career-high of 16 points with an impressive 15-of-25 attack rate, while Angel Canino provided backup with 13 points, 11 excellent receptions, and five digs. 

Gagate dominated with five of De La Salle’s ten blocks, finishing with 12 points, while Dela Cruz contributed eight points and 11 receptions.