La Salle continues dominance over Ateneo to stay on track for Final 4 twice-to-beat

Defending champion De La Salle University stayed on track for a twice-to-beat incentive after making quick work of rival Ateneo de Manila University, 25-12, 25-12, 25-18, in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday night.

The Lady Spikers are now a win away from securing the coveted twice-to-beat after picking up their second consecutive victory.

“Actually, ngayon nga ang ganda ng nilaro nila. Sobrang pulido, although may mga konting lapses towards the third set, pero nung first two sets nakita namin, ‘yun yung hinahanap naming game sa kanila,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

The chase for the two twice-to-beat slots in the Final Four remains hanging in the balance, as La Salle, UST and National University are still level in first place at 11-2.

The Lady Spikers and the Tigresses duke it out on Saturday, while the Lady Bulldogs go up against Far Eastern University on Wednesday.

The towering 1-2 punch of Thea Gagate and Shevana Laput once again starred for the Angel Canino-less Lady Spikers. The former tallied a game-high 16 points on 10 attacks and six blocks while the latter registered 15 points on 12 attacks and three blocks.

Amie Provido added seven kills and collected seven digs, while Alleiah Malaluan and Maicah Larroza chipped in six points apiece as La Salle extended their winning streak against the Blue Eagles to 14 games, which started in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 79 finals.

Team captain Julia Coronel delivered 17 excellent sets to go along with four points.

Reigning UAAP MVP Angel Canino missed her fourth consecutive game but participated in pre-game drills for the first time since injuring her right arm. Meanwhile Jyne Soreño is currently undergoing therapy following a left arm injury she suffered in their 25-22, 23-25, 16-25, 22-25 loss to NU last Sunday.

“Hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy this coming Saturday para sa game against UST,” added Orcullo.

La Salle will face off against UST, which defeated them in their first round encounter, on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at the same venue.

On the other hand, also-ran Ateneo remained at the fifth spot in the standings with a 4-9 win-loss card.

No player from the Blue Eagles reached twin digits in scoring with Geezel Tsunashima and Lyann De Guzman scoring six points each.

Ateneo will try to pick up a win in its final elimination round assignment against Adamson University on Wednesday, 2:00 p.m., also in Araneta.