Three-time defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers played their best game of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament, dissecting the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles and sweeping the season series, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
La Salle sorely needed the win and showed their championship mettle. They improved to a 9-3 record, maintaining their hold on the second seed with a one-game lead over the 8-4 UST and FEU.
The Lady Spikers made an early statement, turning a slim 14-13 gap into a convincing set win with an 11-4 blast. The second set was more of a wallop, as La Salle opened on an 18-8 blitz, powered by precise serving and steady floor defense.
With Ateneo continuing to struggle with their first touch, La Salle leaned on Des Clemente and rampaged to a 12-6 edge in the third set. The Lady Eagles then tried one last rally, coming within one, 22-21, but were quickly turned back by La Salle’s strong serving. An Ateneo overreaching violation, a Clemente running tip, then an Aduke Ogunsanya slide allowed La Salle to escape.
Rookie Jolina Dela Crus shone for La Salle, tallying 14 points, while Lourdes Clemente and Aduke Ogunsanya each managed 10 points. The Lady Spikers limited Ateneo, the league’s best-blocking team, to zero kill blocks.
La Salle clinched their 11th consecutive postseason appearance, their 19th overall under Ramil De Jesus.
No Lady Eagle reached double-digits in scoring, as Ponggay Gaston provided seven points.
Although Ateneo dropped to a 10-2 record, they still only need one more win to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage.
La Salle (9-3) take on the University of the East Lady Warriors (3-9); while Ateneo face the Adamson University Lady Falcons (1-11) on April 24 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
DLSU (3) – Dela Cruz 14, Clemente 10, Ogunsanya 10, Luna 9, Cheng 4, Cobb 2, Tiamzon 2, Alba 0, Saga (L)
ADMU (0) – Gaston 7, De Leon 6, Madayag 6, Tolentino 6, Samonte 4, Wong 1, Gandler 0, Maraguinot 0, Raagas 0, Gequillana (L), Ravena (L)