Despite return of Angel Canino, La Salle loses to UST again. Drops to third seed in Final Four

Drawing energy from half of the 14,939 fans inside the SMART Araneta Coliseum, University of Santo Tomas denied De La Salle University despite the return of reigning MVP Angel Canino, scoring a 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-15 win to secure a twice-to-beat edge heading into the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball Final Four on Saturday.

The Golden Tigresses, who finished the elimination round with a 12-2 record claimed the second seed despite being tied with National University as the latter has superior match points, 36-34. Meanwhile, the Lady Spikers fell to 11-3 for third spot.

UST and De La Salle will duke it out once again in the semifinals. NU and Far Eastern University compose the other pairing.

“Kinocongratulate ko itong mga player namin na talagang nagtatrabaho para sa UST,” said Golden Tigresses head coach Kungfu Reyes.

“Maganda ito pagpasok ng top four kasi nga malaking malaking panalo yung nangyari ngayong gabi, nakuha namin yung ini-aim namin na hindi lang basta makapasok ng Final Four but magkaroon kami ng twice-to-beat advantage,” added the long-time UST mentor.

The Golden Tigresses last reached the Finals in UAAP Season 81 (2019) and held a twice-to-beat advantage against the Lady Spikers in the Final Four.

After giving up the first set where Canino subbed in with the scoreline still at 2-4, UST bounced back in the second frame with Angge Poyos and Jonna Perdido going back-to-back for the 25-23 equalizer that opened the floodgates for the yellow side of things.

The Golden Tigresses romped past the Lady Spikers in the third, mounting an 18-10 lead en route to the 25-16 victory for the 2-1 set lead.

Then UST turned to Regina Jurado for a spark as she scored four straight points in their 11-4 run in the fourth to turn an 8-9 deficit into a 19-13 advantage before Perdido, Cassie Carballo, and Xyza Gula followed her lead for the win in two hours and 15 minutes.

Super rookie Poyos scored 22 points on 18 spikes, three blocks, and an ace while lefty open spiker Perdido added 19 points built on 18 attacks.

Jurado also finished with 13 points and six digs as Bernadett Pepito controlled the floor with 17 digs and six receptions.

Canino, in her return after missing five games, ended up with 13 points with seven coming in the first set.

Shevana Laput carried the fight for De La Salle with 26 points on 23 attacks, two aces, and a block.