By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
HAD it solid in their University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 82 women’s volleyball debut at the weekend, the De La Salle Lady Spikers look to sustain their form as they go for their second win in a row in league action today.
To take on the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the scheduled 3:30 p.m. match at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Lady Spikers (1-0) try to build on their impressive four-set victory over defending champions Ateneo Lady Eagles last Saturday and further get early traction in the tournament.
Despite being mostly composed of rookies, La Salle was the steadier team in its game against rival Ateneo on its way to the 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 25-15 win.
Veteran Tin Tiamzon led the way for the Taft-based Lady Spikers, notching a triple-double of 17 points, 13 digs and 12 receptions.
La Salle got off to a strong start in the opening frame versus Ateneo, anchored on its stifling defense.
The Lady Eagles, led by rookie Faith Nisperos, would regain their footing in the second set to level the count at one set apiece.
The reigning champions continued to dictate the tempo in the early goings of the third stanza until La Salle flipped the switch.
Fueled by a combination of precise execution and Ateneo’s poor defense, the Lady Spikers snatched a 2-1 set lead before sprinting to a 17-7 spread in the fourth courtesy of a Jolina Dela Cruz hit.
Ateneo tried to recover from it but just could not get the job done, eventually slumping to the defeat.
Dela Cruz was also steady for La Salle in the win with 13 markers while freshmen Thea Gagate and Leila Cruz made a splashing debut with 10 and nine points, respectively.
Following their victory, La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus said the win was a good way to start the season and gauge where they are while also underlining the need to continue working on their game.
“This was a crucial game for us as we got to see where our players are at. As expected there were jitters on the part of the players, especially the young ones, but credit to them as they were able to rise above it as the game progressed,” said Mr. De Jesus in Filipino as he reflected on their performance.
As a team, La Salle, composed of eight rookies, committed 33 errors.
Turning their attention to the Fighting Maroons (1-1), Mr. De Jesus said they are looking to do better this season versus State U, after going winless against the latter in Season 81.
“We did not win against them last year but I think we have a better chance against them this season because we have the personnel to do it. Good thing we won today (Saturday) so that the players are more inspired and confident against UP on Tuesday,” said Mr. De Jesus.
UP (1-1), for its part, is also gunning for a second straight win in today’s match after swinging to the win column last Saturday against the University of the East, 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-17.
It was a bounce-back win for the Maroons after being dominated in their season debut by Ateneo in three sets.
Also playing today are the men’s teams of La Salle and UP at 2 p.m.