YES THEY CAN!
The DLSU Lady Spikers delivered a resounding reply to doubters when they swept UP yesterday, 25-15, 25-16, 25-16 to formally clinch a semi-final berth with still 3 games to play.
Aside from donning a new uniform (white top, green bottom), the Lady Spikers unveiled a different look to start the game, inserting 6’1 Shevana Laput in place of the injured Leila Cruz, and bringing in Jyne Soreno as a super-sub off the bench. The change worked, addressing the gap in the Taft Wall left by Cruz while adding a smart and powerful attacker in Soreno during the usual double sub towards the end of each set.
Laput delivered in her first start, pumping in 9 points on a variety of attacks and blocks, usually able to power the hit over the outstretched UP blockers, and posing a formidable blocking threat beside Thea Gagate, Fifi Sharma, Angel Canino, and Jolina dela Cruz.
The green-and-white team came out firing from all angles, serving notice to the hapless Lady Fighting Maroons that they were out to prove that the loss against UST was going to serve as an impetus to do better. The DLSU attacks had more zing, putting UP on the back foot as their blocking failed to blunt the Lady Spikers attacks, and pressuring the floor defense of UP. The attack stats told the story: 44-27 for La Sale.
Unable to handle the La Salle offense, and having difficulty getting through the rebuilt Taft Wall, UP was unable to mount any sort of challenge except in the 3rd set, where a good start saw the Lady Maroons lead 6-5 before the first technical timeout. But unfazed, the Lady Spikers settled down to outscore UP 19-11 the rest of the way. Save for a few reception miscues that they still need to address, La Salle played relatively well with only 13 errors.
The scoring load was distributed among top rookie Angel Canino who topscored with 17 points, Thea Gagate (11), Lapout (9), Sharma (6), and dela Cruz (6).
The coaches had the luxury of mixing up the lineup, giving some playing time to Amie Provido who scored 2 points Soreno (3), and Maicah Larroza. Soreno looked very comfortable coming off the bench, and can provide instant offense when she is fielded in. The double sub of Coronel for Laput and Soreno for Alba worked well near the end of the sets, as the two played well as closers.
The comfortable win was a good tuneup for the upcoming match against Adamson, currently in second place. Adamson poses a formidable threat, having whitewashed UST in their earlier 2nd round encounter in straight sets. The Lady Falcons coach Jerry Yee is coming off a successful NCAA campaign, where his CSB Lady Blazers showed utter domination with second consecutive spotless season after sweeping the NCAA last year. Yee is sure to prep his young team for Wednesday’s encounter.
With the Lady Spikers using the UST loss as a motivation, they look primed to go all the way.
Photo courtesy of UAAP Media Bureau