The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers snatched their 12th championship after overpowering the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs in five thrilling sets, 19-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-16, 15-10, earlier today at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs were determined to spark momentum early in the game, as the team never wavered despite Fifi Sharma leveling the game at 4-all. Shevana Laput handed La Salle their first lead with a powerful attack against Alyssa Solomon, 6-5. La Salle noticeably loosened up on their defenses which NU took advantage of as the former was forced to call a time-out at 7-11. MVP Angel Canino, Thea Gagate and Laput teamed up to slowly chip away NU’s lead to two until Dela Cruz leveled the set once more at 16-all. However, errors and a wavering floor defense from NU held the Lady Spikers from capitalizing on their momentum, handing the set to the Lady Bulldogs, 19-25.
Gagate and Canino graced the second set with a 3-0 run halted only by Solomon, 3-1. Solomon then went on to make a solo 3-0 run, 5-6, handing the lead back to the Bulldogs. But the Lady Spikers were not too far behind as Canino put an end to a fiery sequence to level the set for the fourth time, 10-all. The Lady Bulldogs managed to build a four-point cushion only to be erased by their own errors but they remained two steps ahead with Amie Provido providing a one-woman block, 19-20. La Salle was forced to call for a timeout after consecutive errors following Canino’s back-to-back equalizer attempts, 22-24. Dela Cruz attempted to extend the set but Solomon ended La Salle’s hopes with another kill, 23-25.
The third set was neck-and-neck with the Lady Spikers being plagued by consecutive errors, allowing the Lady Bulldogs to pull ahead, 2-6. Eventually, NU caught the plague as they erased a three-point cushion with consecutive errors of their own, 8-all. Maicah Larroza debuted as La Salle’s sparkplug as she scored two consecutive points, 10-all. After tying for the seventh and last time at 13-all, Laput sparked a sizzling 5-0 run for the Lady Spikers to snatch the lead for the set, 18-13. After a free point for the Bulldogs due to a service error, Canino sparked another 4-0 run. An attack error by NU sealed the set in favor of La Salle this time, 25-14.
Kapitana Alba drew the first bullseye for the fourth set, sparking another 3-1 run, which Sharma topped with three consecutive attacks, 7-4, before Canino sent the set to its first TTO, 8-4. Laput extended La Salle’s lead to seven and Sharma maintained this cushion with back-to-back arrows, 19-12. The ladies donned in green doubled up on their net and floor defense during this set, doubling their advantage. Canino’s service ace gave the team the set point and Alleiah Malaluan ended the set with a soft drop to NU’s undefended side court, 25-16.
Early into the fifth set, Laput stood tall and mighty to build back-to-back block points, 2-0. Another extended rally highlighted by crucial saves by Alba ended with another point for the Lady Spikers courtesy of Gagate, 5-1. Solomon and Robles pulled their team at La Salle’s heels, with the former tying the game at 7-all. La Salle built walls in the form of Sharma and Malaluan to further dwindle NU’s hopes, 13-9. Malaluan’s cross-court gave the team the championship point, 14-10. Then, Gagate’s sixth block of the set, sealed the victory for the Lady Spikers as they reclaimed their throne as the UAAP S85 Women’s Volleyball champions, 15-10.
The Lady Spikers also snagged seven individual awards in the UAAP S85 Women’s Volleyball:
Most Valuable Player & Rookie of the Year – Angel Canino
1st Best Outside Spiker – Jolina Dela Cruz
2nd Best Outside Spiker – Angel Canino
1st Best Middle Blocker – Thea Gagate
Best Setter and Finals MVP – Marionne Alba
DLSU 107—Canino 19, Gagate 17, Laput 12, Sharma 11, Dela Cruz 6, Larroza 4, Malaluan 3, Alba 3, Provido 2, Jazareno (L) 0, Coronel 0, Soreño 0
NU 92—Solomon 34, Belen 11, Pangilinan 8, Alinsug 7, Lamina 5, Maaya 4, Robles 4, Cagande 1, Jardio (L) 1, Nierva (L) 0, Ellarina 0
Set scores: 19–25, 23–25, 25–14, 25–16, 15–10