Lady Spikers up for clash with Lady Bulldogs after ripping Lady Falcons
La Salle bounced back from a lethargic first set against Adamson on Sunday to prevail, 22-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19, needing a wake up call from coach Noel Orcullo to stay perfect in the UAAP women’s volleyball championship and prime up for its blockbuster clash against an old nemesis in three days.
And Angel Canino, the rookie seen as the tip of the Lady Spikers’ sword in getting back at National University (NU) after being swept last season, also primed herself up heading into that match.
“Season 84 is different, this is a totally different team than Season 85,” Canino said in Filipino, referring to the La Salle crew that won a sixth straight game and could complete a first round sweep on Wednesday against the defending champion Lady Bulldogs at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“You can be assured that we will play our hearts out,” Canino, who finished with 21 points against the Lady Falcons, said. “We will definitely show everyone our true worth, what we’re all about—both as individual players and as a team.”
NU will also be coming off a swashbuckling win, carved up on Saturday when the relentless Lady Bulldogs pummeled the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in straight sets.
Ane Bella Belen, the reigning Most Valuable Player, will be clashing with Canino for the first time since their storied high school rivalry, which ended with Canino leading La Salle-Zobel to a victory in 2018 that snapped Nazareth School (NS)-NU’s four-year UAAP girls’ reign.
“Now they have a go-to player. They really improved compared to before,” Belen said on the heels of that 25-21, 25-9, 25-18 win over FEU on Saturday, referring to Canino. “Now, we can see that they’re really fighting and hitting so it’s going to be a challenge for us. We’ll prepare and look at what we need to improve on.”
Belen said that with all excitement in the coming matchup which many see could be for the title later on.
“Of course we’re excited [to play them]. It’s been a long while since we faced her (Canino) so we’re looking forward to Wednesday,” Belen said, referring to Sheena Toring, her Lady Bulldogs teammate who was also with that NS-NU team.
Canino started off slow with just two points in the first set before being unstoppable in the last three, and it was the reason why the Lady Falcons were able to win a set.
“We had a shaky start because Angel was still adjusting,” Orcullo said in Filipino, proving that this is Canino’s team to lead. “She missed our past training because she was under the weather. She just came back to training yesterday.
“I just reminded them after the first set to come back. Good thing, I was able to wake them up.”
Adamson was sent crashing back to earth as La Salle ended the Lady Falcons’ three-game winning streak in sliding to a 4-2 record. La Salle had a season-high 14 blocks.
Trisha Tubu had 13 points to lead the Lady Falcons. Kate Santiago chipped in 12 points, 15 digs and 10 receptions, while Lucille Almonte added nine points and 10 receptions.
End of skid
Meanwhile, Vanie Gandler and Faith Nisperos brought Ateneo back on the winning track, with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-22 victory over skidding University of the Philippines (UP) snapping a four-game losing streak.
Gandler delivered the goods for the Blue Eagles with 17 points built on 13 attacks, two blocks and two aces as Ateneo ended its first round schedule with a 2-7 record.
“Of course, it’s been a frustrating first round so it feels great to finally get another win,” said Gandler. “Hopefully, we can use this as momentum coming into the second round. The fight is not over so we’re just gonna keep going.”
Nisperos had 14 points, including the clutch attacks in the third set.
UP suffered its fourth straight loss, sliding to a 1-5 record before wrapping up the first round against Adamson on Wednesday.
—With a report from Rommel R. Fuertes INQ
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