Lady Spikers enter Final 4

Sophomore Michelle Gumabao continued her breakout performance as La Salle booked the first ‘Final Four’ berth with a 25-19, 25-11, 25-23 win against Far Eastern University Wednesday in UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

A product of Holy Spirit-Quezon City, Gumabao finished with 11 points, including four blocks, to lift the Lady Spikers notch their ninth win in 10 matches.

“Happy ako sa inilalaro ni Michelle (Gumabao), mataas ang kumpiyansa ng bata. Mataas ang kanyang percentage sa attacks, blocks at service. Masipag hindi lamang sa laro pati sa ensayo,” said La Salle mentor Ramil de Jesus.

The Lady Tamaraws last tasted the lead in the third frame, 23-22, from a Kathlene Magsumbol block when veteran Jacq Alarca scored a drop shot to level things up at 23-23. FEU never had a chance to extend the game when Gumabao scored two straight kills for La Salle to seal the straight sets win.

Alarca topscored with 13 points while Stephanie Mercado and Abigail Maraño added eight hits apiece for the Lady Spikers, who made it to the semifinals for the third straight season.

Rookie Rosemarie Vargas fired 13 hits, including three service aces, while Maica Morada chipped in 12 points for the Lady Tamaraws, who prior to the match have won three straight games. FEU slipped to 3-7 mark which derailed their ‘Final Four’ bids.

Staring on a 12-14 deficit, Gumabao and Alarca took charge in La Salle’s 13-5 run to clinch the first set. “I hope na ma-maintain ang kondisyon ng mga bata sa last four games ng eliminations. Mahirap yung nasa peak ka tapos babagsak bigla ang laro mo pagdating sa semis,” said de Jesus, who is seeking to guide the Lady Archers to a sixth UAAP title.