With Angel Canino sidelined, Lady Spikers struggle past UP


In its first game without reigning MVP Angel Canino, De La Salle University struggled but managed to get the job done against the University of the Philippines, winning 26-24, 25-19, 24-26, 27-25, securing its sixth straight win in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday.

The Lady Spikers improved to 8-1 at solo second, just behind the 9-1 University of Santo Tomas, despite Canino missing the game due to “an accident that caused her to have a cut on her right arm.”

There’s no timetable yet for Canino’s return.

La Salle with this win has clinched at least a playoff for a Final Four spot. A victory by Far Eastern University over Ateneo de Manila University later in the day will give the Lady Spikers and National University tickets to the post-season.

“Siguro nabigla yung mga bata, hindi inaasahan kasi nga wala si Angel pero sinabihan naman namin sila na maging ready lang. Kung sino yung papalit sa pwesto ni Angel maging ready lang,” said Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

The win did not come easy for the defending champions, which squandered a 24-20 match point in the third set as the Fighting Maroons piled up six straight points to force a fourth frame, 26-24.

UP reached set-point in the fourth at 24-22 but Alleiah Malaluan powered La Salle to 25-all before Maicah Larroza’s attack from the pipe put them on top followed by Julia Coronel’s block on Joan Monares for the hard-earned victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

“Of course with Angel, we’re not sure, but definitely there’s the need to step up so I guess there’s that pressure but I’m glad that my team and the coaches have that trust in me,” said Shevana Laput, who logged 21 points on 18 attacks.

Malaluan contributed 17 points, 11 excellent receptions, and nine digs, while Larroza came off the bench and produced 12 points, 14 digs, and 10 receptions.

The Lady Spikers look for their seventh consecutive win on Tuesday against University of the East at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.