After a disappointing Game 1 loss, the La Salle Lady Spikers ran the NU Lady Bulldogs out of their own gym in four sets 26-24, 21-25, 25-18, 25-21 at the MoA Arena.
However, La Salle team captain and undisputed best player, Ara Galang suffered a devastating knee injury in the fourth set. She landed awkwardly on her left knee after scoring off a spike. Her knee twisted and the former MVP left the game with her team needing just two points to seal the win. Galang scored a game-high 25 points while digging up eight attacks to lead her team.
The Lady Spikers started the match off energetically; a stark contrast from Game 1. La Salle jumped to an 11-8 lead courtesy of splendid play from middle blocker, Mary Joy Baron, and team captain Ara Galang. A quick change of setter and a dose of Jaja Santiago’s destructive power brought NU to a 13-all tie. The Lady Spikers responded emphatically with Galang and Cyd Demecillo tag-teaming to put them at set point, 24-20. La Salle’s service reception went sour momentarily opening the door to an influx of Lady Spiker errors. NU scored four consecutive points to force a deuce, but La Salle quickly ended the set with blocks from Galang and Baron.
NU started the second set slow but eventually found their groove midway through the frame. An Ara Galang spike gave La Salle the last taste of the lead for the set at 16-15. NU then rifled-off five points in a row, building a four-point wall that the Lady Spikers could not get past.
La Salle dominated the following two sets as the last season’s runner-up displayed the devastating blocking that their program is known for. La Salle had control of the match, needing only two points two book a seventh consecutive trip to the Finals when the Ara Galang injury occured. Utility spiker, Desiree Cheng hopped off the bench and scored an ace followed by a triple block on Jaja Santiago officially sending La Salle into the Finals.
As of press time, Ara Galang was rushed to a hospital for further testing. No word has gone out as to the specifics of her injury.
“Sa isang team mahirap maglaro ng walang leader, ng team captain. So tuloy lang. ‘Di naman pwedeng dito kami matapos. Kailangan gawan ng paraan.Mageensayo kami [Lady Spikers] simula bukas ng wala siya [Ara Galang]. Tinanong ko siya after noong injury kung kaya pa, umiling, may nararamdaman pa talaga siyang pain,” said La Salle Coach Ramil De Jesus.
Playing in their final UAAP game, NU’s Desiree Dadang notched three points while Rizza Mandapat had six.
The first game of the finals will be on March 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
DLSU – Galang 25, Demecillo 15, Baron 15, Reyes 5, Fajardo 4, Soyud 2, Cheng 1, Tiu 1, Macandili (L), Cruz Ci. (L)
NU – Pablo 19, Santiago 15, Singh 12, Mandapat 6, Dadang 3, Soliven 1, Perez 0, General (L)