Tested for the first time this season, the Lady Spikers went thru the wringer before escaping with a 25-20, 25-27, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12 win over defending champion University of Santo Tomas Sunday in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament before a jampacked crowd at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
La Salle finish the eliminations on top with a 13-1 record while the Tigresses are in 2nd place with a 10-4 slate.
“Hindi ako satisfied sa inilaro ng mga bata, hindi La Salle team ang nakita ko. Lumabas ang pagkabata ng setter ko (Mika Esperanza), nauubusan ng diskarte kaya nakakalusot ang UST,” said La Salle mentor Ramil de Jesus.
The Lady Spikers will have the twice-to-beat advantage when they meet 4th-seeded Ateneo in their semifinal match-up on Saturday. The Tigresses also has the same incentive with they face Adamson in the other Final Four pairing on Wednesday.
Team captain Cha Cruz scored 17 hits, including two blocks, while Stephanie Mercado and Abigail Maraño added 15 points apiece for La Salle.
Aiza Maizo had 20 points while Judy Caballejo chipped in 17 hits, including two service aces, for UST.
The Tigresses last tied the count at 11-11 via a Maizo kill before Mercado connected a running spike and Michelle Gumabao followed it up with a tip in for the Lady Spikers to take a 13-11 lead.
A hit by Maika Ortiz allowed UST to move closer within a point before Mercado and Gumabao clinched it all for La Salle with two consecutive kills.
La Salle swept Ateneo in their two elimination round meetings. “The true battle begins on Saturday,” said de Jesus, who is seeking to guide the Lady Spikers to their sixth title.