|La Salle players sing their Alma Mater song shortly after winning its second straight UAAP women's volleyball title.|
By Ricky Manliguis
QUEZON CITY—And the UAAP women’s volleyball crown stays in Taft.
Displaying the heart of a champion in the clutch, the Lady Spikers bested nemesis Ateneo in a grueling five-set affair, 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10, to record a back-to-back in Game 2 of the UAAP LXXIX women’s volleyball competitions at the sold-out Araneta Coliseum.
Anchored on the offensive firepower of Tine Tiamzon, Kim Dy, season MVP Majoy Baron, and Desiree Cheng, the Taft-based squad rallied from a set down to hand the school its sixth women’s title in a decade and 10th over-all.
It was also a perfect parting gift for graduating team captain Kim Fajardo, who opted to play one more year and was the driving force of the team throughout the season especially in the Finals.
The Lady Spikers nearly squandered a 10-4 advantage in the deciding fifth set, as Ateneo pumped four straight points to trim the deficit to 10-8. Cheng answered back for 11-8, before Tiamzon fired back-to-back rockets for a 13-9 edge. Baron then put the team to championship point with a quick attack.
Ateneo had another chance to score, but Jhoan Marguinot’s effort went out, sparking celebrations from the green-clad faithful.
After a lucklustre opening set, La Salle pounced in the next frame highlighted by Fajardo’s five service aces, before Ateneo recovered and take the third set.
Dy finished with a game-high 19 points on 15 attacks, three blocks, and a service ace. Tiamzon backed her up with 16 markers spiked on 13 kills.
|For her excellent performance, Desiree Cheng was hailed as the Finals MVP of the series. (File Photo)|
Cheng, later awarded the Finals MVP award, finished with 12 points and 12 excellent digs, while Baron chipped in 10.
Fajardo also chalked up 10 markers along with 43 excellent sets.
“Sobrang sarap,” said the fifth-year Best Setter and Server awardee. “Hindi ko alam kung paano i-express.”
“Sobrang saya ko talaga kasi hindi ko naramdaman na ako ‘yung pinakamatanda sa amin. Hindi ko naramdaman na ako mag-isa na ako lang lumalaban. Never nila pinaramdam sa akin ‘yun,” she later added.
Michelle Morente paced Ateneo, now 2-4 in six finals meetings with DLSU, with 16 points. Maraguinot and Bea De Leon both had 14, while Kat Tolentino got 10. Skupper Jia Morado fired 53 excellent sets.