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La Salle back in finals, squeak past pesky Tigresses

La Salle is in the UAAP volleyball finals for the 14th time in school history. 
By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY—De La Salle University secured another finals appearance, staving off a determined University of Santo Tomas in four sets, 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-13, in the UAAP season LXXIX women’s volleyball Final Four Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum. 

With a blistering first two frames, the second-seeded defending champions had to bounce back from a dimsal third set against a UST squad back in the semis after a four-year absense to enter the finals for the ninth consecutive time. 

“Wala akong masabi. Actually, basta kasi, every year mas gusto ko mag-prepare, ewan ko, siguro kaloob na lang ng Diyos ‘yun kasi ang hard work na ginagawa namin, buong year,” echoed winning coach Ramil De Jesus in a post-match interview. 

Majoy Baron led the La Salle offensive with a game-high 17 points on 13 attacks, Tin Tiamzon chalked in 13, while Kim Kianna Dy added 12. 

Desiree Cheng and team captain Kim Fajardo were the other double-digit contributors with 11 apiece. 

The Lady Spikers dominated the whole game with a 48-38 advantage in attacks, while lording over in the service game, 11-1. Fil-Nigerian Aduke Ogunsanya had six of DLSU's 17 blocks. 

UST refused to give up, staging a mighty fightback in the third set despite the injury of EJ Laure midway in the set. The Third-year outside hitter twisted her right ankle during a joust with Dy, but retured shortly after, sparking the late rally. 

But La Salle took control in the fourth set, opening a 10-1 advantage and never looked back since. 

“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na hindi pupwedeng ganoon ‘yung galaw (sa third set). Hindi tayo pwedeng pumasok sa Finals na ganoon ang mentality natin or ganyan ang focus natin,” De Jesus later added. 

Skipper Cherry Rondina paced the Tigresses, which will lose graduting players Pam Lastimosa, Alex Cabanos, and Chlodia Cortez next season, with 16 points, while Laure had 14.

The Taft-based team will no await for the winner between league-leaders Ateneo Lady Eagles and fourth-ranked Far Eastern U Tamaraws to be played at the Mall Of Asia Arena tomorrow.

Follow him on Twitter: @Teaching_Hero