by Theodore P. Jurado (www.journal.com.ph)
After two seasons, La Salle is back from where they belong this decade, the finals.
The Lady Archers unleashed their offensive might in the fourth set to oust Adamson, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, and clinch the first championship slot in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the The Arena, San Juan.
Stephanie Mercado uncorked 17 hits while Jacq Alarca and Michelle Datuin added 15 and 13 markers respectively to help La Salle in making a return trip to the finals.
The Lady Archers’ last appearance to the finals was in the 2005-06 season when they completed a ‘three-peat’ in a star-studded line-up bannered by Maureen Penetrante, Desiree Hernandez and Chie Saet.
In the best-of-three finals, La Salle will face the winner of the much-anticipated “Final Four” match-up today between defending champion Far Eastern University and third-ranked University of Santo Tomas.
The duel between the Lady Tamaraws and Tigresses, two of the winningest women’s volleyball squads in the league, is set at 4 p.m.
“Hindi ko nagustuhan ang laro ng mga bata, kailangang may ma-improve sa laro ng mga bata pagdating sa finals, whether FEU o UST ang kalaban namin, dapat paghandaan namin nang husto,” said Lady Archers mentor Ramil de Jesus.
Angela Benting scored 18 kills while Jill Gustilo added 16 markers for the Lady Falcons.
After La Salle took the third frame via an outside hit by Adamson rookie Pau Soriano which served as the set point, the Taft-based spikers could not stop in connecting their attacks at the net.
The Lady Archers raced to a 10-1 advantage before the Lady Falcons moved closer to 7-10 courtesy of a Kaye Martinez error.
But this was the best that Adamson could reach, as Michelle Datuin starred in another La Salle onslaught to erect a 19-9 spread and never looked back.
In the Men’s division, La Salle faces UP today in their Final Four matchup for the right to meet UST in the Finals. The Green Spikers enjoy a twice to beat advantage in this series.