By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
ABSORBED losses in their previous University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 81 matches, the De La Salle Lady Spikers and University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses look to bounce back in their league collision today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
To take on one another at 4 p.m., the Lady Spikers (3-1) and Tigresses (2-2) try to get back their respective campaigns on the winning track and fortify their spot in the standings as the tournament nears the halfway point.
Playing in the first game at 2 p.m., meanwhile, are the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws (2-2) and University of the East Lady Warriors (1-3).
Defending champion La Salle enters today’s contest off a five-set loss to the University of the Philippines, 25-21, 20-25, 21-20, 25-20 and 12-15, on March 2.
The Lady Spikers opened well against the Lady Maroons but could not sustain it and played behind in the middle sets.
They had a chance to salvage a win in the fifth set only to find their efforts not enough to outlast UP to slump to their first defeat of the season.
Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz continued with her splendid play for La Salle, top-scoring with 19 points.
Aduke Ogunsanya finished with 13 for the Lady Spikers with captain Des Cheng and hurting May Luna adding 12 points each in their gallant push.
They now hope to redeem themselves against an undermanned UST crew.
The Tigresses are expected to play sans one of their “Big Three” in Filipino-Italian Milena Alessandrini.
Alessandrini suffered a knee injury (partial ACL tear) in their last game against FEU and is expected to be out at least two weeks.
The Fil-Italian had five points before hurting her knee, leaving UST in a bind as it lost to the Lady Tamaraws in four sets, 25-19, 20-25, 19-25 and 25-27.
Against La Salle today, the Tigresses are banking on team leading scorer Sisi Rondina (17.5 points per game) and top-class rookie Eya Laure (16.8 points) to lead them and help fill the void left by Alessandrini, the team’s third-leading scorer with 13 points a game.
Meanwhile, for helping her team to a share of the lead in the standings, Tots Carlos of UP (3-1) was named UAAP player of the week.
Finished with a team-high 19 points in their big win over La Salle last weekend, Carlos and the Lady Maroons moved to joint first place with the Lady Spikers and joined later by the Ateneo Lady Eagles.
The veteran wing spiker said she is taking it upon herself to deliver for her team when needed so as to help their cause in the ongoing season.
“I made it a mantra for myself to play at my best for my teammates and my team. As the captain as well I have to show the way,” said Carlos in Filipino.
In winning the award given by media covering the league, the UP pride beat out La Salle’s Dela Cruz, Ateneo’s Kat Tolentino, UE’s Judith Abil, FEU’s Celine Domingo and Adamson’s Bern Flora.
By Michael Angelo S. Murillo