Wanting to prove that their first-round win was no fluke, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons once again were victorious over defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers, scoring a decisive 25-16, 26-24, 25-19 second-round win at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The Lady Maroons took advantage of shaky La Salle serve reception to open the match and took a huge 18-12 lead in the first set. La Salle reconfigured their lineup but wound up giving away errors that pushed UP to the first set win.
UP then took their turn giving away errors and bad passes, leading to a commanding 15-10 La Salle advantage in the second frame. Thanks to solid transition offense, the Lady Maroons slowly erased La Salle’s lead and eventually gained the first crack at set point, 24-23, after an Aduke Ogunsanya service error. The Lady Spikers forced a deuce, but quickly lost grip after another service error from Jolina Dela Cruz. UP’s Jessma Ramos found the set-clinching kill from an over-passed ball that went straight to her.
La Salle tried to stay on pace with UP in the third set, even taking a 17-16 lead. But their offense became tepid, as UP found their finishing push from a flurry of serves and attacks. The Lady Maroons surged ahead 23-18 after a Marist Layug kill and never looked back.
Tots Carlos led the Lady Maroons with 13 points, while Isa Molde managed 11. UP benefited greatly from La Salle’s 37 errors, while they only had 23.
UP became the first team to sweep the elimination round against La Salle since Ateneo in Season 79. Despite a monumental achievement, UP head coach Godfrey Okumu believes his team still has plenty of room to improve.
“We can still play better. It’s just a matter of time. It was a good game, but we cannot be content,” said Okumu.
“La Salle is a very disciplined team, but they fave up a lot of errors today especially at the crucial moments. We can still improve a lot as a team,” he added.
Des Cheng was the lone Lady Spiker in double-digits with 11 points. Lourdes Clemente and Jolina Dela Cruz each managed six markers.
UP (5-3) will face the league-leading Ateneo de Manila University (7-1) on Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. La Salle (5-3) take on the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (5-3) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
UP (3) – Carlos 13, Molde 11, Bernardo 5, Dorog 4, Layug 3, Ramos 2, Estrañero 1, Buitre 0, Altomea (L)
DLSU (0) – Cheng 11, Clemente 6, Dela Cruz 6, Tiamzon 5, Alba 3, Inistrella 3, Cobb 1, Ogunsanya 1, Ipac 0, Luna 0, Saga (L)