With their first-round loss still fresh in their minds, defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers evened the score with the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses after a 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 26-24 win at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure got their act going early, providing the offense for UST to establish a five-point first set lead, 19-14, which they nourished until the end.
Errors then dictated the flow of the following set. UST’s loose hand with miscues fueled the Lady Spikers’ run to an 18-11 lead. The Lady Spikers took their turn giving up errors and bad passes, allowing UST to slowly chip away at their lead. La Salle almost lost control after Norielle Ipac and Des Cheng gave away back-to-back errors and tied the set at 23. But the Lady Spikers stopped the bleeding after Aduke Ogunsanya and Des Cheng provided the late kills.
The attack errors continued to pile up for UST in the third set. After giving up 13 in the second set, the Tigresses added 11 to their tally and allowed the Lady Spikers to gain an insurmountable 19-12 lead.
Neither team took immediate control of the fourth frame, as both squads’ veterans traded blows and short-lived leads. The Lady Spikers took the first substantial advantage of the set, 22-20, thanks to scores from Mars Alba, Cheng, and Ogunsanya. A Laure attack followed by Tin Tiamzon attack error tied the set at 23. A prolonged deuce was avoided with Des Clemente pulling off back-to-back blocks.
“Slow start so medyo nangangapa pa ng first set. Sa practice iba yung kinikilos natin, pero pagdating ng game medyo tight. Nakuha ng UST ang first set kasi madami kaming unforced errors. Sabi ko mag-adjust lang, mas kumilos ng mas magaan. Buti nakuha namin ang second set,” admitted La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus, as his team ended the match with a 12-6 blocking advantage.
He observed better organization from the Lady Spikers compared to their first round, straight-sets loss to the Tigresses.
“Well, yung first meeting namin ng UST ng first round, sobrang hindi organized ang blocking namin. This time, talagang nag-adjust kami sa blocking. So ‘yun ang isang malaking factor,” added the decorated tactician.
Graduating skipper Des Cheng delivered another game-high performance, scoring 20 points to lead La Salle. Middle blocker Aduke Ogunsanya added 12 markers, which includes a team-best four blocks.
UST ended up with 44 errors, most of which came from attacks. Eya Laure topped their scoresheet with 20 points, while Sisi Rondina followed closely with 19.
DLSU (7-3) face the Adamson University Lady Falcons (1-9) on Sunday. Meanwhile, UST (6-4) take on the University of the East Lady Warriors (2-7) on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
DLSU (3) – Cheng 20, Ogunsanya 12, Dela Cruz 6, Tiamzon 6, Clemente 5, Luna 2, Alba 1, Ipac 1, Cobb 0, Saga (L)
UST (1) – Laure 20, Rondina 19, Viray 8, Galdones 4, Balcorta 1, Jimenez 1, Pacres 1, Roldan 1, Bicar 0, Galanza 0, Delerio (L)