|The victorious De La Salle Lady Spikers completed the three-peat with a two-game sweep of FEU in the finals. (Franchesca Nicole Collantes/ Dugout Philippines)|
By Ricky Manliguis
QUEZON CITY—And the three-peat is now complete.
La Salle claimed its third straight women’s volleyball crown after pulling off a 26-24, 25-20, 26-24 Game 2 win over Far Eastern University for a sweep of UAAP Season 80 finals at the jam-packed Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
Drawing inspired performences from its graduating players Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dwan Macandili, the Lady Spikers battled back from deficits in the first and third sets against a tough FEU squad en route to its 11th championship.
This is also the Taft-based school’s third three-peat in women’s volleyball, starting from Seasons 66-68 and Seasons 73-75.
The Morayta-based team actually started strong in the opening frame, even getting to set point at 24-21 on back-to-back attacks from skipper Bernadeth Pons. But La Salle scored five straight points -- three coming from Dy—to snatch the frame.
La Salle sustained momentum in Set 2, pouncing on FEU’s nine unforced errors while firing four service aces, including one from Aduke Ogunsanya to give her team a two-set advantage.
Another hot FEU start propelled them to a 10-7 edge, but La Salle responded offensively to come within championship point, 24-20, on Mich Cobb’s service freebie, sending the 14,018 crowd up on their feet.
Refusing to wilt down just yet, the Lady Tamaraws rallied to knot the count at 24-all punctuated by Jer Malabanan’s off-the-block hit. Dy and Tim Tiamzon killed the FEU hopes with consecutive kills, ending the one hour, 35 minute match.
“Akala nga namin okay na eh. Sinabi ko nga sa players na huwag muna tayong mag-celebrate kasi hindi pa tapos 'yung laban. 'Yung FEU, hindi nagi-give up," said winning coach Ramil De Jesus after the match.
“Pag dumadating yung ganitong situation, hindi na namin binibitawan talaga. Ngayon, nakuha namin ang Game One, sinabi namin sa kanila na wag na natin paabutin ng Game 3,” the multi-titled mentor later added.
Over-all, La Salle had a slight edge in attacks, 44-40, but fired eight service aces as compared to a solitary FEU ace.
Dy finished with a game-high 19 points built on 16 attacks, two blocks, and a service ace, while Baron chipped in 10 markers on their final UAAP game.
Macandili had another awe-inspiring performance, finishing with 21 excellent digs and eight receptions. She was later hailed as the Finals MVP, averaging 22.5 digs and 10.5 receptions in the series.
|La Salle libero Dawn Macadili capped off her collegiate career with a championship and Finals MVP honors. (Franchesca Nicole Collantes/ Dugout Philippines)|
“Yung moment na nakadikit ang FEU sa amin, sabi ko sa teammates ko, kaunting tiyaga lang to. Makukuha na natin yung pinaghirapan namin, tyinaga lang talaga namin. Nanghina ako. Pag tingin ko sa score, sabi ko okay, tapos na. Nagpay-off na ang pinaghirapan namin,”
Bernadeth Pons finished her UAAP career with 17 points spiked on 16 kills. Heather Guino-O and Malabanan both cashed in six markers for FEU.