Putting on the most dominant showing in two years in the country’s most heated rivalry match-up, the De La Salle University Lady Spikers romped the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 26-24, 25-17, 25-19, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
La Salle won their eighth straight match to end the first round and finished with a 12-2 record overall. They face fourth seed NU Lady Bulldogs in the Final Four.
La Salle took early control of the first set through sturdy blocking and splendid play from Desiree Cheng. The open spiker paired up with Majoy Baron to block Jules Samonte and give La Salle a commanding 24-20 lead. Then, Jho Maraguinot became Ateneo’s savior until she wasn’t. The wiry spiker propelled the Lady Eagles back into the match with her serving, eventually firing an ace to knot the set at 24. But, she also gave back set point, serving long and setting the stage for Baron to smash a quick hit and end the set.
Pouncing on Ateneo’s flimsy passing, the Lady Spikers raced to a 13-4 lead. Ateneo tried to rally back, coming to within six, 14-8, but their offensive woes took over in the end. Leading 2-0, the Lady Spikers looked in their best form of the season.
The Lady Eagles looked resurgent to start the third frame. Ateneo leaned on solid play at the net to stamp a 12-8 lead, before La Salle mustered a comeback. Their plays dissolving into errors, Ateneo opened the door for an 12-4 La Salle run, from which Ateneo could not recover.
“Sabi nga namin na gusto namin ma-establish ‘yung confidence namin bago mag-Final Four. Kahit sabihin na no bearing, may bearing sa laro namin ‘yung pagiging consistent namin,” said La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus.
Kianna Dy led the Lady Spikers with 13 points off 12 attacks and a block. Cheng added 12 markers.
Kat Tolentino topped the Lady Eagles with 15 points while their leading scorer Jho Maraguinot was held to just six points. In addition, Setter Deanna Wong tossed just 14 excellent sets.
Ateneo enters the Final Four as the third seed, the first time they enter the semifinals without a twice-to-beat incentive since Season 76. They take on the second-seed FEU Lady Tamaraws.
DLSU (3) – Dy 13, Cheng 12, Tiamzon 11, Baron 9, Cobb 7, Ipac 4, Ogunsanya 0, Macandili (L)
ADMU (0) – Tolentino 15, Madayag 8, Maraguinot 6, Samonte 6, Wong 5, De Leon 3, Gequillana 1, Abella 0, Eleazar 0, Gaston (L), Ravena (L)