Even after sweeping the regular season series against the Ateneo Lady Eagles and going 7-0 in the second round of the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament, the DLSU Lady Spikers know that the championship is till the ultimate prize and that they have to play as good as yesterday’s 26-24, 25-17, 25-19 straight sets win or even better in the playoffs.
According to graduating team captain Majoy Baron: “Happy kami na ganoon (eight-game winning streak), hindi pa kami napi-peak e. Ang gusto namin, coming into the semis (na) mas buo kami as a team and ma(g)-peak kami.” Referring to the team’s match-up against the fourth seed National U Lady Bulldogs.
“Ayaw naming pumasok ng semis na talo kami. (Na) wala kaming confidence,” added the Season 79 UAAP MVP.
A balanced attack led by Kim Kianna Dy (13), Desiree Cheng (12), and Tim Tiamzon (11) aided by committing less unforced errors (16 vs. Ateneo’s 20) was all the Lady Spikers needed to finish the elimination round with a 12-2 record.
The two-time defending champions was the first to reach set point in the first set at 24-20 before Ateneo went on a 4-0 run the extend the opening frame. After a service error by the Lady Eagles, Baron quickly wrapped up the set on a quick hit and the Lady Spikers never looked back even after trailing 8-12 at the third set.
“We’re treating every game like it’s our last, so syempre, all-out na kami. It’s now or never every game,” said Dy who also revealed the main advantage the team had over their Katipunan counterparts: “If you’re confident, it will help you play your game. So coming into this game, iniisip namin na kailangan all-out para walang masamang mangyari.”
Aside from winning the confidence and mental game, La Salle (ranked no. 2) also out-blocked the league’s number one blocking team led by the exploits of both Baron and second-year setter Michelle Cobb who both had four kill blocks each.
Cobb also won the battle of the setters, registering 24 compared to the 14 of AdMU’s Deanna Wong. Wong had the upper hand, 36-25, during the teams’ first round encounter during the first week of March.
Bouncing back from a paltry five-point showing in the team’s 25-21, 25-15, 22-25, 25-18 win against the Adamson Lady Falcons and averaging just 6.6 points in the second round, Tiamzon scored in double digits for the first time since tallying 13 against the same Ateneo squad in the first round.
“It’s (eight-game winning streak) all for our seniors; that they have a good exit sa playing career(s) nila sa UAAP. Talagang para sa kanila, sa Lasallian community, for coach, and our families,” explained Tiamzon.
Heading into their match-up against the Lady Bulldogs on Sunday, April 22 also at the Mall of Asia Arena, head coach Ramil de Jesus expect all his wards to contribute on both offense and defense against the Jaja Santiago-led team.
“(Compared to the first round), itong second round nandoon na yung confidence ng setter namin, na-gain na yung tiwala sa bawat isa. (Sana) magkasabay-sabay lang ang lahat ng players ko sa loob ng court. Iyon pa yung kailangan naming i-practice. Mas maganda kung lahat sila nagco-contribute sa team,” added the 10-time UAAP champion mentor.
Animo La Salle!