De La Salle Lady Spikers sweep archrival Ateneo Blue Eagles

Games On Wednesday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
10 a.m. — DLSU vs UE
12 p.m. — ADMU vs FEU
2 p.m. — UST vs AdU
4 p.m. — NU vs UP

UNDEFEATED De La Salle University (DLSU) kept its mastery of rival Ateneo de Manila with ease, scoring a 25-16, 25-20, 25-13 romp to gain a solo leadership in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Prized rookie Angel Canino did not shy away from her first rivalry game by hammering out a career-high of 23 points on 21 hits, a block and an ace as the Lady Spikers made its 11 wins in a row over the Blue Eagles.

With veterans Jolina Dela Cruz (13) and Thea Gagate (10) flaunting their usual fine games, La Salle needed only one hour and 28 minutes to dispatch Ateneo for a 3-0 record on top of the UAAP so far.

De La Salle, last season’s runner-up, now enjoys a full-game upperhand over reigning champion National University (NU),  University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Adamson University (AdU) in a three-way logjam at No. 2 with 2-1 cards.

Justine Jazareno had 15 digs while Mars Alba provided 13 sets in the easy win that also handed interim head coach Noel Orcullo, in place of seasoned chief tactician Ramil De Jesus who’s out due to undisclosed reasons, a fitting win in his first Ateneo-De La Salle game.

De La Salle, which took care of business against UST and University of the Philippines, just picked up from where it left off by clipping Ateneo’s wings right off the bat on an 8-3 opening-set lead for a 25-16 rout.

The Lady Spikers rolled on from there, unleashing strong starts one set after the other, highlighted by a 25-13 domination in the clincher with the lead of Ms. Canino and Ms. Dela Cruz, who whipped back-to-back hits to end it.

“I think we all deserve the Best Player of the Game honor. We’re proud of the team,” said Ms. Canino, the former UAAP juniors MVP for De La Salle-Zobel.

Faith Nisperos was the lone bright spot with 11 points for Ateneo Blue Eagles, which slid to 1-2.

In other games, University of the Philippines (UP) (1-2) bested University of the East (0-3), 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, to barge into the women’s win column. UE (2-1), for its part, bounced back in the men’s division with a 19-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22 win over UP (0-3). — John Bryan Ulanday