SHOT DOWN in their opening matches in the second round of UAAP Season 81, the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers and University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses try to get back on the winning wagon when they play separate opponents in league action today set at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Holding an identical 5-3 record, good for joint second place with two other teams, the Lady Spikers and Tigresses look to break from the four-way logjam in their matches against the National University Lady Bulldogs and Adamson Lady Falcons, respectively.
La Salle battles NU at 4 p.m. while UST collides with Adamson in the preceding game at 2 p.m.
The Lady Spikers were tripped mightily in their second-round opener on March 24, losing to the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons in straight sets, 25-16, 26-24 and 25-29.
Save for the second set, La Salle grappled for form for much of the contest, unable to match up with the spirited play of the Lady Maroons.
Veteran Des Cheng was the lone Lady Spiker in double digits with 11 points.
Next to her were Des Clemente and Jolina Dela Cruz with six points apiece.
The loss was the third in La Salle’s last five games and second against UP this season.
The Lady Spikers admitted their shortcomings and vowed to work on their game.
Out to stop La Salle is NU (2-6), which has lost back-to-back, the latest of which against the University of the East in four sets, 25-16, 25-18, 24-26 and 25-16, on March 20.
UST, for its part, saw the rug pulled from under it by the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles also on March 20, bowing in five sets, 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-22 and 15-11.
The Tigresses took the opening two sets but could not complete the task of winning after the Lady Eagles showed tremendous grit to hang on and eventually take the match.
Veteran Sisi Rondina had it explosive for UST, finishing with 35 points, 30 off kills, while top rookie Eya Laure had 21 points.
Dimdim Pacres had nine with KC Galdones finishing with eight points for the Tigresses, who had their three-game winning streak halted with the loss.
While her impressive scoring prowess was laid to waste with the defeat, Rondina said she was still proud of their effort against Ateneo and that she still believes that they can compete with the best in the field.
Waiting for UST is Adamson (1-7), which was near stopping a three-game losing streak in its game versus Far Eastern University on Sunday but bowed in five sets.
Meanwhile, for her huge step-up in their win over UST, Maddie Madayag of Ateneo was named University Athletic Association of the Philippines player of the week.
With her team struggling in the early goings, the graduating Madayag rallied the Lady Eagles in their charge back in the last three sets to complete the epic comeback.
Madayag finished with a team-high 23 points, 11 of which coming off blocks, a new record in the UAAP.
“I just played my game, and contributed whatever I can for the team, and I just gave it my all,” said Madayag of her performance to remember.
In winning the award given by media covering the league, Madayag beat out Rondina, UP’s Tots Carlos, FEU’s Lycha Ebon and UE’s Lai Bendong. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo