Perennial UAAP forces La Salle and Adamson rolled past their respective counterparts to complete a group sweep and march on to the quarterfinals of the 2023 Shakey’s Super League (SSL) National Invitationals on Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Also dominating their pools were the University of Santo Tomas and College of St. Benilde.
The reigning UAAP champion La Salle needed only 70 minutes to dispatch CESAFI runner-up University of Southern Philippines Foundation, 25-14, 25-15, 25-19, while UAAP bronze medalist Adamson also blanked NCAA runner-up Lyceum, 25-17, 25-18, 25-22, in 71 minutes.
UST (2-0) dropped La Salle-Dasma, 25-10, 25-10, 25-8, to sweep Pool B as NCAA champion CSB (2-0) followed suit with a 25-11, 25-13, 25-10 domination of NAASCU titlist and Luzon qualifier Enderun Colleges to wipe out Pool D.
The Lady Spikers, who also drubbed the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the opener, 25-11, 25-17, 25-12, drew ample support from Shevana Laput and Katrina Del Castillo with 10 points apiece.
But La Salle, without UAAP Rookie-MVP Angel Canino and ace libero Justine Jazareno, is far from being satisfied entering the knockout playoffs.
“Marami pa kaming kulang. Lalo na yung connection ng setters at spikers. Marami pa kailangang ayusin. ‘Yung mga unnecessary errors, kailangan masolusyonan,” said assistant coach Noel Orcullo as La Salle also deals with the graduation of key cogs Jolina Dela Cruz, Mars Alba, and Fifi Sharma.
Later, Lucille Almonte fired 10 points on six hits and four aces in the Lady Falcons’ second straight win under new coach JP Yude. Sharya Nicole Ancheta and Red Bascon added nine and seven points, respectively.
“Good thing na nalagpasan namin yung elims pero kailangan pa naming paghandaan kung sino makakalaban sa QF lalo at paangat ng paangat ang games,” said Yude, who succeeded former Adamson mentor Jerry Yee.
The sweep of La Salle (2-0) in Pool A and Adamson (2-0) in Pool C also paved the way for quarterfinal entries of Perpetual (1-1) and Jose Maria College Foundation (1-1).
Xyza Gula cashed in 14 points while Maribeth Hilongo had 13 points to lead the way for UST with Karylle Ann Caasi quarterbacking the Golden Tigresses’ attack with 13 sets.
“Gusto ko lang po na maayos ‘yung performance namin. Kulang pa po kami sa chemistry pero we’re getting there,” said Caasi as UST needed only 64 minutes to eliminate La Salle-Dasma.
For back-to-back NCAA queen CSB, Wielyn Estoque and Jade Gentapa joined forces with 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the match that lasted only 63 minutes.
“Nag-focus lang po kami sa game plan at nag-enjoy lang po kami. Stick lang po ulit kami sa plan at mag-enjoy sa quarterfinals,” said Estoque.
With UST’s win, CESAFI champion University of San Jose-Recoletos (1-1) clinched the second seed in Pool B to also make the quarterfinals as Enderun (1-1) bagged the last ticket in Pool D despite the defeat against CSB.
Pool A leader La Salle collides with Pool C’s second-seed Jose Maria College Foundation while Pool C pacer Adamson clashes against Pool B’s second-ranked USJ-R.
In other pairings, the Golden Tigresses will face Enderun. Meanwhile, the Lady Blazers take on Pool A’s No. 2 team, the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.