La Salle was already poised to sweep FEU after taking the 1st 2 sets in a walk-in-the-park manner Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Center to kickstart its 2nd round campaign in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Tamaraws had different plans, however, as they turned the tables in the succeeding 2 frames to shock and extend the match to a decider.
Fortunately for the Lady Spikers, the odds tilted in their favor in the last frame as veteran Cyd Demecillo delivered when it truly mattered to finish with 12 points on top of 12 excellent digs.
On Demecillo pounding on the defense of FEU in the dying minutes of the match, La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus says, “Sabi ko kasi sa kanya wag muna natin isipin ang nararamdaman natin ngayon. After na ng game (intindihin).”
“Nasa 80% siguro siya pero hindi pa ganun eh. Kulang pa eh kaya minsan may mga times na pinapalitan ko kasi may pain pa na konti,” he added, talking about the outside hitter’s recovery from a minor shin injury.
Both teams scored 11 points from service aces which clearly shows how both teams—FEU in the 1st and 2nd sets, La Salle in the 3rd and 4th sets—struggled with reception.
Libero Dawn Macandili managed to tally 21 excellent digs and 19 excellent reception to outdo her counterpart from FEU, Kyla Atienza, who had 16 digs.
“‘Yung sa 3rd and 4th sets, ‘yun ang talagang FEU,” de Jesus told the press. “Nung sa 1st 2 sets medyo hindi sila naka-receive eh. Nasira ‘yung defense nila kasi most of the time nasa amin ‘yung attack. Nitong 3rd and 4th, na-dominate naman kami sa attack. Hindi kami makapasok. Nakuha nila ‘yung momentum and nagtuloy-tuloy.”
“Halos hindi kami nakadepensa nung 3rd and 4th set. Halos lahat ng pinalo ng FEU lumusot sa block. Dun sa floor defense naman hindi naitaas. Tapos dumami pa ang unforced errors,” added the former national team coach.
With their backs pressed against the wall, the girls off Taft turned to the old reliable swagger to match the intensity of the Lady Tamaraws in the 5th set.
The ploy worked as La Salle distance itself from the twisted team standings to secure the 2nd spot with a 6-2 record.
Kim Dy, though taken out of the equation in the last set, still top scored for last year’s runners-up with 14 points built on 11 kills, 2 services aces and a block while Ara Galang and Majoy Baron registered an identical 11-point output.
Talking about his girls’ mid-game meltdown, de Jesus shares, “Dito kasi sa amin umpisa nakukuha ang 1st set at momentum then after nun sobrang relaxed naman. Then pagka na-pressure naman medyo alanganin.”
“Kailangan i-remind na hindi pwedeng ngayon pa lang ulit magu-umpisa.”
Next on the Lady Spikers’ road to redemption is the rematch with 1st round tormentor UST, who surprised them with a sweep just last Wednesday.
Expect La Salle to put up a better fight this time around as the coach closed by saying, “Paghahandaan namin. Mas dobleng paghahanda ang gagawin namin kesa dun sa 1st round.” — By Mac Dionisio