Having their endurance and resiliency tested by a lower seed, De La Salle University’s Michelle Morente and Tin Tiamzon persisted through University of the Philippines’ Isa Molde and Justine Dorog (21-16, 24-26, 15-9) to enter the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Beach Volleyball Finals at the Sands SM By the Bay.
La Salle did not need their twice-to-beat incentive against fourth seeds UP, who had to go through second seed National University’s Kly Orillaneda and Antonette Landicho (12-21, 21-19, 15-6) in the first round of the stepladder Final Four.
The Lady Spikers, however, had their gut tested in the second against the Lady Maroons. Leading 20-18, La Salle let the next two points evaporate and allowed UP to drag them into a deuce. After several long rallies, UP got the decisive ace from Dorog to send the match to a third set.
Tied at 8 in the decider, La Salle made one last push, punishing UP with serves. The Lady Maroons took just one point in the final stretch of the match as La Salle cruised to the Finals.
“It feels so great kasi sobrang pinaghirapan namin ito ni Tin. We went through so much together, including itong really hard match against UP,” said Morente, who had competed twice before in the UAAP beach tourney, but for Ateneo.
“Now it’s going to be about getting the championship. Hopefully, we can perform well tomorrow,” the former Lady Eagle added.
The Lady Spikers entered the Finals for the first time since Season 78 when Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo won their first championship in program history.
La Salle faces three-peat seeking University of Santo Tomas’ Sisi Rondina and Babylove Barbon in the best-of-three Finals. The Tigresses have not only yet to lose a match, but have also not dropped a set this tournament.