La Salle squeaks past stubborn Lady Tams, move a win away of 3-peat

Players of La Salle celebrate a point in this piece of UAAP women's volleyball action. (Franchesca Nicole Collantes/ Dugout Philippines)

By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY—La Salle fended off a gritty FEU side through three sets, ekeing out a 29-27, 25-21, 25-22 win to take the headstart in the best-of three finals of the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coming from a nail-biting first set, the Lady Spikers used its championship experience to full measure against the gritty but obviously outplayed Lady Tamaraws in the next two sets as it placed one foot into claiming the team's 11th women's volleyball crown.

Trailing 3-8 in the third set, the Lady Spikers mounted a comeback behind May Luna to tie the count a 9-all. Heather Guino-O responded for FEU to make it 12-10, then 15-12. Luna scored back-to-back service aces to ignite another La Salle burst for a 22-18 cushion.

The Lady Tamaraws made one last-ditch effort to trim the gap to 22-21, but back-to-back errors, the  last one on a service miscue from Guino-O, proved costly for the Morayta-based squad. 

Kim Dy produced 10 markers on eight attacks, but it was reserve Luna who shone brightest in the game with nine points including timely hits in the third set. 

 Captain Majoy Baron and Tin Tiamzon both had eight points. 
“Kung hindi namin nakuha 'yung first set, hindi magkakaganon,” said DLSU mentor Ramil De Jesus.  “Kahit malayo ka, hindi ka nakakasiguro. Kaya sabi ko, mas ano lang, mas gumawa lang ng tama.”
The multi-titled coach also added that the team will do its best to win in Game 2 on Wednesday to avoid any complications.
“Well pipilitin namin na makuha 'yung Game One, kasi mahirap na pag umabot pa ng Game Three,” the 10-time league champ said.

Guino-O paced FEU, which commited 34 unforced errors, with 14 points spiked on nine attcks, but got little help from stars Bernadeth Pons and Chin Basas, who were limited to nine and six points, respectively. Celine Domingo had eight. 

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