The De La Salle University Lady Spikers showed that they have what it takes to conquer the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, just when they needed it most.
Having lost both elimination round matches, the Lady Spikers hit their peak in execution, finally earning a win over the Lady Eagles, 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-20, in Game One of the best-of-three Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
At the start, the Lady Spikers looked primed for another meltdown. Their faulty reception cost them the first set and put them behind, 18-23, in the second set. However, La Salle’s graduating team captain, Kim Fajardo, sparked a rally that changed the complexion of the entire match. The setter served the Lady Spikers into a 23-all deadlock. Several controversial calls marred the following deuce, which the Lady Spikers eventually took thanks to hits from Majoy Baron and Desiree Cheng.
The Lady Spikers ended up thumping the the Lady Eagles in the third set after another serving spurt from Fajardo put them up 23-19. The fourth set had Ateneo had early, 16-14, but Fajardo again made crucial plays in a run that buoyed La Salle to a permanent 23-18 advantage.
After the match, La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus gushed about Fajardo’s performance. Last season’s Best Setter scored 10 points and tossed 37 excellent sets.
“Iba ‘yung talent niya. Kung gusto kaya niyang gawin, magagawa niya and confident siya lagi kaya hinahayaan ko na lang,” said De Jesus.
“Mas gusto niya manalo. Myung pagiging leader niya lumabas kaya sinundan siga ng teammates niya.”
Sophomore Tin Tiamzon led La Salle with 15 points, while opposite hitter Kianna Dy added 14.
The Lady Spikers can clinch the the back-to-back titles on Game Two, 4 pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Mas i-improve pa namin kulang sa game, every practice, mas concentrate sa training. Mabigat nga legs nila kasi more on defense sa baba ang focus namin. Hopefully, makuha na namin sa Game Two,” closed De Jesus.
Jhoana Maraguinot towed the Lady Eagles with 16 points, while Bea De Leon added 14.
The Lady Eagles have lost their first match of the season to La Salle.
DLSU (3) – Tiamzon 15, Dy 14, Cheng 10, Fajardo 10, Baron 8, Ogunsanya 7, Luna 2, Cobb 0, Layug 0, Saga 0, Macandili (L)
ADMU (1) – Maraguinot 16, De Leon 14, Morente 11, Morado 5, Gopico 3, Madayag 3, Tolentino 2, Gequillana 0, Lavitoria 0, Samonte 0, Tan (L)