This season’s finals, featuring an experienced De La Salle University team against a relatively young Far Eastern U squad, finally broke the six-year streak that saw Green and Blue fight for the UAAP crown. Despite finding the Lady Tamaraws a hard nut to crack and beat during the first and second rounds, being in the UAAP’s brightest lights for the past decade proved to be one of the Lady Spikers’ main advantage in the best of three series.
The team might have started displaying a shaky form, one that head coach Ramil de Jesus described as “pam-baranggay” but the Green and White squad used the eliminations to find their championship form, peaked at the right time, and used the goal of giving their graduating seniors a “graceful exit” as motivation and inspiration to achieve a third three-peat.
Let’s look at some of the notable numbers that defined La Salle’s Season 80.
27 – number of touches that La Salle AND FEU totalled during championship point. It was probably one of the longest rally of the series and both teams had multiple chances to end the set, game, and series (DLSU) or extend the set by tying the score once again to 25-all (FEU).
3+1 – players who have said their goodbyes to DLSU and the Lasallian community. Fifth-year seniors Kim Kianna Dy (opposite), Majoy Baron (middle), and Season 80 Finals MVP Dawn Macandili have just been joined by reserve player Justine Tiu. A 2014 recruit just like KKD, Majoy, and Dawn, Justine saw limited action in the previous two seasons but can easily be seen as someone who exudes energy from the La Salle sideline.
“Every year naman may nawawala, so kung mayroong magtiya-tiyaga na magstep-up, e ganoon naman lagi iyon e. In my 20 years sa La Salle lagi namang may nawawala, may nagsestep-up. Ngayon, kung walang materials, doon nagkakaproblema.” – Ramil de Jesus
14,293 and 14,018 – the official attendance for the two-game finals series pitting the two-time defending champions against the season host, FEU Lady Tams.
4 – also the number of team skill categories that DLSU topped at the end of the two-round eliminations: digging, receiving, setting, and serving. Traditionally their bread and butter, La Salle only took home the silver spot on blocking after the Ateneo Lady Eagles. The team placed fourth in the spiking with a 29.53% success rate.
5 – With Macandili’s Finals MVP trophy, one of Asia’s finest libero joins an elite cast of players who were hailed as the best player in the championship round: Charleen Cruz (73, 74), Michelle Gumabao (75), Kim Kianna Dy (78), and last year’s winner Desiree Cheng.
1 – the number of times that a Lady Spiker scored more than 20 points in one game. KKD’s 21 output (11 from attacks, seven from blocks, and three from service aces) in the first round against Ateneo was the team-high all season long.
168 – total number of service aces recorded by the team counting the eliminations and playoffs. 18 aces against Adamson in the second round was the season-high, while three tallied against UST, the game prior to Adamson, was the season-low. A new-found weapon for the Taft-based squad, the team was led by Season 80 Best Server Desiree Cheng (35 total after the end of the eliminations) and sophomore setter Michelle Cobb (31).
1 – number of new players on the team’s roster this season: opposite hitter Rovena Instrella, a long time-member of the school’s team B who was elevated to the senior’s team this year.
15-2 – La Salle’s overall record in the UAAP women’s volley wars. After losing in five sets against the NU Lady Bulldogs and in four sets versus the Adamson Lady Falcons in the first round, the team went on a tear. After winning their last first round assignment against AdMU, the now three-time champions swept the second round and went 3-0 during the playoffs; finishing the season with an incredible 11-game winning streak.
Animo La Salle!