De La Salle gains twice-to-beat advantage; FEU stays in contention


ANGEL CANINO and De La Salle University dug deep to survive Adamson University, 25-17, 25-27, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9, as the Lady Spikers clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals as action in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament turned fever pitch at the Mall of Asia Arena Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Far Eastern University (FEU) kept its Final Four hopes alive by defeating Ateneo, 25-21, 25-11, 22-25, 25-21.

The 19-year-old rookie sensation out of De La Salle-Zobel unleashed a career-high 28 points on 22 attacks, five blocks and a service ace she laced with 19 excellent receptions and six digs. She made seven of her points in the decider.

The Lady Spikers improved to 11-1 won-lost while dropping the Lady Falcons to solo fourth at 8-4—below idle National University and University of Santo Tomas on 8-3 cards.

De La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo rued the team’s 12 of 27 errors in the second set that allowed Adamson Universty to level.

“We had several lapses in the second set, especially attacking errors,” Orcullo said. “Good thing the girls kept their patience and held on.”

Adamson University opened the fifth set with back-to-back points but that was it as De La Salle scored eight unanswered points to put the match away.

Canino had four points, Shevana Laput contributed two and Jolina Dela Cruz added two service aces in that telling run.

Thea Gagate also set a new career-best of 22 points on 19 spikes and three blocks, while Dela Cruz added 21 points and 13 receptions.

Kate Santiago paced the Lady Falcons with 21 points while Trisha Tubu chipped in 18 points. Lucille Almonte also contributed 13 points, 18 receptions and 13 digs.

The Lady Tamaraws improved to 6-6. They must beat the Tigresses and Lady Falcons and hope that the Tigresses, Lady Falcons or Lady Bulldogs lose all their remaining matches to force a playoff for the fourth seed in the semifinals.

“Whatever the outcome, we’re looking at our three remaining games, only two left because we already won this one,” FEU head coach Tina Salak said.

“We really want to win the remaining three games.”

“If we make it to the Final Four, that’s a blessing, but right now our focus is to maximize our time and win,” the decorated setter-turned-coach said.

Chenie Tagaod led FEU with 15 points on 12 attacks, two aces and a block, while Jovs Fernandez contributed 12 points.

Alyzza Devosora tallied nine points, 11 receptions and nine digs, while Tin Ubaldo was a scoring setter with seven points on three spikes, two blocks and two aces, along with 10 excellent sets.

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