The De La Salle University Lady Spikers seemingly faced every obstacle they could not endure the past two seasons in one game. The Ateneo Lady Eagles threw everything they had – steady defense, powerful attacking, and Alyssa Valdez – but La Salle persisted.
The Lady Spikers finally ended their two year odyssey, slaying the Lady Eagles in four sets, 19-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
As expected, three-time MVP Alyssa Valdez unleashed her entire arsenal on the Lady Spikers, leading Ateneo’s opening rally. Powering home five hits, Valdez led the Lady Eagles to a 7-0 lead in the first set. The lead quickly ballooned to 10-1, growing too large for the Lady Spikers to overcome.
But La Salle worked through their problems in the second set. Every time they defended a Valdez attack, La Salle built confidence. Their hard work on defense also did well to wear down Valdez, forcing Ateneo to rethink their options. Trailing 10-16, the Lady Eagles went to Bea De Leon quicks and received aces from Jia Morado to force a 17-all tie. That turned out to be Ateneo’s last stand as La Salle stood strong on defense, forcing Ateneo into errors. Kim Dy ticked off three attacks to push La Salle ahead, 22-19, protecting their lead to tie the match.
Valdez continued to wear down in the third set, losing height in her leaps and giving away attack errors. The Lady Eagles caught Valdez’s error bug, allowing La Salle to gain momentum. The Lady Spikers took an early five-point lead 10-5, later on stomping the Lady Eagles with a 4-0 run to put the set out of reach, 23-13.
The third set became La Salle’s coronation. La Salle blocked and frustrated Valdez, finally getting the best of the Phenom for the first time in three seasons. Shutting down Ateneo’s best option, the Lady Spikers surged ahead, 16-5. Coming full circle, La Salle received their last three points from their graduating seniors, Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, and Ara Galang.
Valdez managed 31 points in her swan song but needed attack 75 attempts. Jho Maaguinot added 10 markers while Amy Ahomiro had just one point in her final UAAP match.
“Nakita namin yung mga mali namin noong second game. Talagang pinagpursigihan namin na hindi na maulit yun. Malaking pasalamat ko na lang sa nga player ko na nakapag-execute sila,” said La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus who won his ninth championship in seventeen seasons with La Salle.
Named Finals MVP, Kim Dy finished her spectacular season with 17 points. Best Blocker awardee Majoy Baron added 11 points while Reyes, Demecillo, and Galang each had nine markers.
DLSU (3) – Dy 17, Baron 11, Galang 9, Demecillo 9, Reyes 9, Fajardo 6, Macandili L.
ADMU (1) – Valdez 31, Maraguinot 10, De Leon 7, Morado 6, Tajima 2, Gequillana 2, Ahomiro 1, Tan L.
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