It was a complete turnaround when La Salle and UST faced off in the 2nd round compared to their 1st meeting in Season 78 as the Taft squad unleashed its wrath to win the tussle in 3 easy sets.
Barring any chance of the 1st round nightmare from happening again, the Lady Spikers stepped on the gas early, killing the confidence of the Tigresses and limiting the opponents’ attack points to just 16 measly points as a team.
For La Salle team captain Kim Fajardo, her team’s hurt ego simply wanted to get back at their Round 1 tormentor.
“Na-challenge kasi kami. Ayaw nilang maulit ‘yung dati,” she told FOX Sports.
“Nung nalaman nga namin na 2nd game namin sila parang gusto na namin maglaro agad. Parang, ‘Yes!’” she added. “Makikita mo kanina pagpasok pa lang sa mata, sa kung paano sila gumalaw, basta ang ganda ng aura. Gusto nilang kumain ng tao.”
The loss against UST snapped what could have been the start of La Salle’s rampage after a monumental straight sets victory against bitter rival Ateneo.
Making matters worse was the team’s performance when it played FEU, almost losing the matchup even after leading 2 sets to none.
On the morale-boosting victory over the Tigresses, Fajardo shares, “Binawi lang namin kasi nawalan kami ng kumpyansa nun eh. Tapos nung game namin sa FEU pangit pa rin. Gusto namin ipakita kung ano ba kami talaga.”
While La Salle’s middle blockers have been a steady source of attack and block points in the eliminations, wing spikers Ara Galang and Kim Dy did the most damage with a combined 23-point output.
Apparently, this was the game plan all along.
“Puro fast plays kami kanina at puro dulo-dulo na mabilis. ‘Yung gitna hindi ko binibigyan masyado. Ine-expect kasi nila gitna,” said the skipper on fooling UST’s blockers.
Talking about how they’ve been blowing hot and cold so far, she adds, “Makikita mo sa kanila talaga na kaya namin gumawa ng ganito kung gusto talaga namin. Minsan lang talaga pag naunahan ng relax at easy-easy sa kalaban, bumabagsak. ‘Yun ang laging sinasabi sa amin ni coach. Wag maliitin ang kalaban.”
Fajardo herself was impressive during La Salle’s 7th win in 9 outings as she finished with 27 excellent sets with 2 points to boot.
Careful not to be on ‘Cloud 9’ again, the playmaker says every game will be a battle of adjustments from this point on.
“Kami naman naghahanda kami sa lahat ng games. Every game, ibang adjustments,” she said. “Ngayon gumana ‘yung mabibilis. Sa iba, iba naman. Pabilisan lang mag adjust kung sino ang kalaban.”
The most important takeaway from avenging their defeat against UST, according to Fajardo, is getting back the confidence that slipped through their hands during the tail end of the 1st round.
“Na-redeem na namin ‘yung confidence namin. After nga ng game parang ganado sila na kaya pa kahit isa pang set. Ganun sila ka-inspired,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio