From the first part of the opening set to the entire second and third sets, everyone clad in green at the Filoil Flying V Center was in awe of the intensity and tenaciousness shown by the defending UAAP champions against the UP Lady Maroons. Every service ace, rally-killing spike, and demoralizing block in the 27-25, 25-11, 25-17 straight-sets win gradually erased nightmares from the first round upset of the Lady Spikers by their Katipunan-based counterparts.

Up 16-14 at the second technical timeout of the first frame, things got interesting as the Lady Maroons took the lead at 19-20; giving the Green and White gallery something to worry about. Rookie and head coach Ramil de Jesus’ surprise “hugot” Arriane Layug scored an attack point to knot it at 20-all. UP actually got to set point first, 24-23 after an unforced error from Desiree Cheng but kudos to the La Salle six for not giving up and scoring four of the next five points to take the set, 27-25.

DLSU dominated all facets of the game: attacking (38 vs. UP’s 33), 9-2 edge in blocking, 11-2 advantage in service aces, and even committing less errors, 17-19. Sunday was a far cry from the February 15 loss on all counts; a game where La Salle’s reception and first ball was shaky, resulting to a 22-25, 21-25, 19-25 loss.

Smarting from that first round lost where no Lady Spiker finished in double digits, this time, four players led by Majoy Baron’s 16 points (seven attacks, three blocks, and six aces) and 11 each from Kim Keanna Dy, Tin Tiamzon, and Desiree Cheng helped La Salle notch win no. eight against two losses in Season 79.

It was the type of fluid, inspired, and intimidating win that DLSU is capable of unleashing but for some odd reason, refuse to display on a consistent basis. The beast mode-looking showing of the La Salle six might have been a response to their poor showing against the same team in the first round, or sophomore May Luna’s intensity (against NU) rubbing off on her teammates, but I do hope to see more of it in the coming games.

The Lady Spikers take another long, five-day break before resuming its elimination round campaign against the 1-9 UE Lady Warriors on Saturday, March 25 at the Filoil Flying V Center.

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