Antagonized by fans for her boisterous displays on the court, Christine Soyud poured in 16 points and led La Salle to a 25-27, 25-20, 25-23, 25-10 victory over the Bersola-less Lady Maroons at the San Juan Arena.
Powered by their league-best blocking, the Lady Spikers dished out a 17-5 block kills advantage, stifling UP’s main guns.
Faulty UP reception combined with heated DLSU serves afforded La Salle a five-point lead throughout the early part of the match. Down 17-21, a resurgent UP side fought back behind powerful hitting from team captain Nicole Tiamzon and well-placed drops from Vina Alinas. With the game at deuce, UP took full advantage of La Salle’s blockers, banging hits off their blocks, scoring crucial points to win them their first set.
UP kept rolling into the second set as Ariane Ilustre converted two early hits to give UP a slim 10-6 lead. La Salle responded with their signature blocks, eventually tying the set at 16. UP clung on to a one-point lead, until three straight block kills from Soyud placed La Salle at a 22-19 advantage. From there UP only won a single point as La Salle team captain Ara Galang had a brilliant stretch of overall volleyball skills, digging and spiking her team to their first set win.
The trio of Carol Cerveza, Mary Joy Baron, and Soyud powered La Salle to a 12-7 lead in the third frame. UP nibbled at La Salle’s lead, trimming it down to as little as two, 18-20, off great deliveries from the service line. UP continued to bring the heat with their serves, eventually tying the game at 22. An open hit then an ace by Soyud followed by a block from Baron gave La Salle their second set win.
La Salle built on their game-long dominance at the net to start the fourth period, dishing out two early block kills en route to an 8-2 lead. La Salle veterans took it from there as Mika Reyes, Galang, and Kim Fajardo brought their team to an insurmountable double-digit lead, sealing the game for the Lady Spikers.
La Salle’s leading scorer, Galang, dished out 14 points in the first game that she did not lead her team in points. Baron also had a splendid game, turning back six UP spikes en route to 13 total points.
“Actually two days ko pa lang napapractice si Soyud sa position na iyun, so nagulat din ako,” said DLSU coach Ramil De Jesus.
“No, bigyan naman ng chance iyung mga panget ang laro, kasi may mga times talaga na panget iyung gising,” replied De Jesus when asked if they will play a different starting six in the coming games.
Veteran middle blocker Angeli Araneta led the Maroons in scoring with a season-high 15 points while the UAAP’s fourth best scorer Tiamzon managed 14.
DLSU – Soyud 16, Galang 14, Baron 13, Cerveza 9, Reyes 8, Fajardo 8, Demecillo 5, Cheng 3, Dy 2, Macandili (L) 0, Cruz (L) 0
UP – Araneta 15, Tiamzon 14, Alinas 13, Ilustre 7, Ong 4, Buitre 2, Lai 2, Mangulabnan 1, Sandoval 0, Magtalas 0, Ortiz 0, Estranero (L)