La Salle stuns league-leading Ateneo, pockets Final 4 spot

13 April 2019

By Ardyn Gonzales

In what could be the biggest win of the defending champions in the elimination round, the De La Salle University Lady Spikers swept the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in straight sets, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, to officially enter the Final Four in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Statistics did not matter at all as La Salle stunned the top-seeded Ateneo in all the scoring skills ­in this game – particularly in the blocking department as they successfully avoided the tall blocks of the best blocking team Lady Eagles who surprisingly were block-less.

After establishing a commanding 2-0 advantage in the match with ease, the Lady Spikers went on a run in the third set, 22-16. But the momentum was suddenly transferred to Ateneo as they unleashed a 5-0 late rally to stay within a point, but an overreaching error stopped the run as a running slide by Aduke Ogunsanya denied the Lady Eagles of a comeback.

The straight-set win that halted their archrivals ten-game winning streak gave La Salle the second Final Four spot this season.

Rookie Jolina dela Cruz was almost unstoppable with 14 points, while middle blockers Des Clemente and Aduke Ogunsanya had 10 markers each. Libero Carmel Saga also had a breakthrough performance with 21 excellent digs and 14 excellent receptions.

Aside from a disappointing output in defense, Ateneo also struggled with their offense as no one scored in double-digits as top scorer Kat Tolentino was limited to just six points. Ponggay Gaston led the Lady Eagles with 7 attacks and 12 excellent receptions.

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