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UAAP 86 WVB: UE pushes La Salle to the limit, but Lady Spikers prevail in five-set showdown


Defending champion De La Salle University staved off a hard-fighting University of the East in five sets, 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-12, for its seventh straight win in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Lady Spikers (26 points) tied University of Sto. Tomas (24 points) with a 9-1 record but was able to take the number one spot due to their advantage in points.

The towering duo of Thea Gagate and Shevana Laput took over for La Salle in the tight victory. The former tallied a team-high 22 points on 17 attacks, three blocks, and two aces.

Meanwhile, the latter registered 21 points on 17 attacks, three blocks, and one ace.

“Bad win, bad win itong nangyari sa amin. Although panalo, pero hindi maganda para sa amin. Siguro tine-test talaga kami kung hanggang saan yung character nitong team na ‘to, kung hanggang saan yung makakaya,” said Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

Ahead by just one point in the fifth set, 10-9, the Lady Spikers leaned on Laput and Gagate.

The two spearheaded a four-to-nothing blast that brought them a point away from securing the victory, 14-9.

The Lady Warriors, though, were able to save three match points after Julia Coronel’s service error sparked a 3-0 run. Cassiey Dongallo followed with a block on Gagate, before a Laput attack error helped slice the lead down to two points.

Gagate then took over, scoring off a power tip to secure the hard-fought victory for La Salle after two hours and 23 minutes of game time.

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“Hopefully, ‘wag na maulit. Kaya maging lesson sa kanila ‘tong nangyari na five set, although nanalo, a win is a win. Pero dapat ilagay nila sa sarili nila na hindi dapat nangyayari yung ganung laro,” added Orcullo.

Alleiah Malaluan finished with 12 points in the triumph. Meanwhile, Amie Provido and Maicah Larroza scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Spikers.

La Salle looks to stretch its winning streak against National University on Sunday, 4:00 PM at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

On the other hand, Khy Cepada had her best game this season, pouring a game-high 23 points on 19 attacks, two aces, and two blocks. She also had six excellent digs.

However, it was not enough as UE are on the brink of elimination after dropping to 2-8 in the standings.

Dongallo scored 20 points on 12 attacks, five aces, and three blocks in the loss for the Lady Warriors in the defeat.

UE looks to keep its Final Four hopes alive against Ateneo, also on Sunday at 2:00 PM.

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