La Salle Ousts NU to Meet Thrice-to-Beat Ateneo in UAAP 77 Finals Showdown

De La Salle University Lady Spikers captured another UAAP Women’s Volleyball Finals appearance after eliminating National University with a 26-24, 21-25, 25-18, 25-21 upset on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.

With this knockout win against the NU Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Spikers are set to face archrival Ateneo Lady Eagles in another UAAP championship showdown starting on Wednesday to be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

It was a complete twist of events for La Salle this time, as to recall, the Lady Spikers had the full advantage of stepping into the Finals last year, and now it is the Ateneo Lady Eagles who grabbed an instant Finals spot with a thrice-to-beat privilege.

The searing Lady Spikers, who endured a shocking defeat against National U, went on a full-forced defense partnered by an improved handling above the net to undermine the heroics of Lady Bulldogs.

National U set foot on the court with boosted morale, giving La Salle a hard time to deliver an easy first set win and took ownership of the second period to knot the set cards at 1-1.

However, the Lady Spikers got back on track during the third and Ara Galang spearheaded the joust with power hits to avert the Taft based-squad from another collapse.

Midway down the homestretch, the Lady Bulldogs suffered from a number of service miscues which became an opportunity for La Salle to extend the lead.

La Salle were just 3 points away, 23-20, from getting the win when team captain Ara Galang had an unexpected bad fall and had to leave the game for an urgent medical attention.

The dilemma caused the De La Salle faithful to hold their breaths, yet the Lady Spikers eased up the tension as Desiree Cheng scored a service ace to put La Salle to match point, 24-20.

NU’s Myla Pablo made a crucial hit to regain another point at 24-21, but a game-winning block from Justine Tiu posted the much-awaited victory for the De La Salle Lady Spikers.

Despite being out from the final events of the game, Ara Galang still topscored with 25 points to be named as Player of the Game.

On the other hand, Myla Pablo finished with 19 points, while Jaja Santiago had 15 and Jorelle Singh contributed 12 points for the NU Lady Bulldogs, who fell short from stepping into the Finals for the third straight year.