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La Salle sets finals rematch with Ateneo after downing FEU in rubber match

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--For the fifth straight time, it will be Ateneo and La Salle in the UAAP women's volleyball finals.

The latter booked the last seat to the best-of-three titular showdown after eliminating a gallant FEU squad, 25-15, 27-25, 25-21, in the decider of their semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday night.

The Lady Spikers, who had a smooth sailing in the first set, found themselves having to withstand huge pushes by the Lady Tamaraws, who cancelled the former's twice-to-beat advantage with a win on Sunday, to finally set up the rematch with the Lady Eagles for the title.

FEU came close to stealing Set 2 from La Salle after they broke out of a tight battle to take a 23-19 lead.

But the latter scored five straight points to put the team at set point.

Bernadette Pons then connected on an attack to force the deuce, while Remy Palma put the Lady Tams back up with a block.

Mika Reyes scored on a quick spike, while an error put La Salle at set point, which Cyd Demecillo obtained through an ace.

The Lady Spikers tried to pull away early in the third set, banking on aces and the Lady Tams' errors to open an 18-9 cushion.

But Tin Basas and Heather Guino-o began catching steam while La Salle's errors started to compile as well and the lead was down to two, 23-21.

Ara Galang then sent a powerful spike to FEU's floor, while Kim Fajardo's ace capped the hard-fought win.

Galang and Reyes each scored ten points with Galang scoring nine spikes and Reyes getting three blocks for La Salle, which will only have two days of rest before its finals opener with Ateneo on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Fajardo played tremendously as setter, making 50 excellent sets while making four aces and two kills too.

Pons and Basas also tallied ten markers on nine spikes each for FEU.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno