UP 1-0 in their best-of-three UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball finals series, the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers look to end things against rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles in Game Two tomorrow.
Following a dig-deep performance in the series opener last Tuesday that saw them overcome being a set down to claim the win in four sets, 21-25, 29-27, 25-22 and 25-20, the Taft-based Lady Spikers said that they will try to make the second game “their last game of the season” and secure for the school its 10th women’s volleyball title in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), and fourth in the last six years.
“We are excited for Game Two and the possibility of defending our crown. Hopefully it will be our last game for the season,” said Kim Dy after their Game One victory.
In the opener, La Salle bucked a jittery start and turned things around to finally break from the stranglehold of Ateneo, which swept the Lady Spikers in the elimination round.
Veteran setter Kim Fajardo started the La Salle fight back in the second frame with a series of service aces from which the rest of the team took cue from and built on as the match progressed.
Fajardo, playing in her final year in the green and white, finished with 10 points, seven off service aces, to go along with 37 excellent sets.
Open spiker Tin Tiamzon had a team-high 15 points followed by Dy who had 14 markers.
Desiree Cheng added 10 of her own while Majoy Baron had eight points.
“We really prepared for the game during the break. In training we saw what we did wrong and we just made adjustments,” said La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus of the breakthrough win they had over Ateneo.
“The players wanted to win. Kim Fajardo showed why she is the leader of the team and her teammates followed her lead,” he added.
Mr. De Jesus further said that he urged his players to step up in Game One for he believed that only then could they go over the Lady Eagles.
“I told the players to step up. It would not help us if we would be limited in our attacks. If you are threat at the front the other team’s blockers will have hard time,” the coach said.
The two previous losses were also a motivation for them in the opener, said Dy, last year’s finals most valuable player.
“The losses we had against them in the elimination were also a factor. They motivated us to play well and work for the win,” Dy said.
But while they are up 1-0 and in prime position to defend their UAAP title, the Lady Spikers are not getting ahead of themselves and are going into Game Two mindful not to be overconfident.
“Given we beat them in the first game, but we should not be too overconfident and instead try to improve on what we did today,” said Dy.
“I’m happy with the way they took on the challenge. We must continue to improve on our Game One performance, especially our defense,” Mr. De Jesus, for his part, said.
Meanwhile, right before the 4 p.m. Game Two of the finals between La Salle and Ateneo at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the annual awarding of individual honors will take place.
Set to be feted are National University’s Jaja Santiago as best scorer, spiker and blocker; Fajardo as best server and setter; University of the East’s Kathleen Arado as best digger; La Salle’s Dawn Macandili as best receiver; and Ateneo’s Jules Samonte as rookie of the year.
To be named most valuable player is La Salle’s Baron.