By Ricky Manliguis
SAN JUAN—Defending titlist La Salle nabbed a slot in the Final Four as it issued a close 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 victory over University of Santo Tomas in Wednesday action of the women's volleyball competitions of UAAP Season LXXIX at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Taft-based squad thus remained unbeaten in six games in the second round to tie bitter rivals Ateneo atop the leaderboard with identical 10-2 records.
But they had to finish the 90-minute encounter without last year’s Finals MVP Kim Kianna Dy, who left early in the third due to an apparent ankle sprain and never returned with them leading 6-4.
Desiree Cheng bannered the scoring parade for La Salle with 13 points spiked on nine attacks and three service aces, while Dy followed suit with 12 markers.
Ernestine Tiamzon was the third double-digit contributor with 11.
Despite a slight edge in the attacking department, 37-34, DLSU dominated the blocks category (5-1), while firing a game-high 11 aces as compared with UST’s three. Libero Dawn Macandili had a hand on 17 of the team’s 42 digs, while team captain Kim Fajardo had 20 excellent sets.
DLSU will set to face luckless Adamson on Saturday, before setting its sights on Ateneo on April 8.
The Tigresses saw its string of back-to-back wins halted to fall to a triple-tie with Final Four contenders University of the Philippines and National University with a 7-5 win-loss card.
Skipper Cherry Rondina had 13 points on 12 kills and 15 digs, while EJ Laure and Mary Dominique Pacres cash in 11 and 10, respectively.
UST’s final two matches will be against UP on Sunday and NU on April 8.