La Salle spikers eye second win

LA SALLE seeks to gain a share of the early lead as it tangles with University of the Philippines today in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The league has not yet made an announcement whether today’s matches will be played behind closed doors.

Yesterday’s Game 2 of the high school boys’ basketball Finals between Far Eastern University and Nazareth School of National University at the Filoil Flying V Centre was played without an audience as a preventive measure against coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Coach Ramil de Jesus is confident of his Lady Spikers’ chances to prevail in their 4 p.m. duel with the Fighting Maroons.

“Hindi nga kami nanalo (sa UP) last year parang Ateneo nanalo sa amin tapos kami hindi nanalo sa kanila. ibang position na yung team ngayon so siguro mas mapaghahandaan namin yung UP and mas may tao kami ngayon,” said De Jesus.

Notwithstanding having eight first-year players in the roster, the La Salle made a statement on its campaign for redemption from last year’s failure to make it to the biggest stage.

The Lady Spikers drew huge games from veterans Tin Tiamzon and Jolina dela Cruz and a smashing college debut by 6-foot-2 Thea Gagate to beat back-to-back title-seeking Lady Eagles, 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 25-15, last Saturday. 

“Mas maganda tong nakauna ng panalo para inspired sa practice para sa Tuesday mas may confidence,” said De Jesus.

Tiamzon and Dela Cruz teamed up for 30 points but the moment belongs to Gagate, La Salle’s new tower in the middle who tallied five of her 10 points from blocks.

The Maroons, for their part, split their first two games last week.

After a straight set loss to Ateneo, UP rebounded with a 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-17 victory over University of the East last Saturday.

Isa Molde, who led the Maroons’ season-opening win with a career-high 24 points, is looking forward to what the Lady Spikers can unleash more.

“Yung mga rookies ngayon malalakas and ang gaganda nilang kalaban and nandoon yung competitiveness nila,” said Molde.

UP mentor Godfrey Okumu has high respects for La Salle.  The Maroons may have swept the Lady Spikers in their head-to-head last year, but this may change this season.

“It’s always interesting when you play against La Salle. La Salle is a very good team and it doesn’t matter whether they have rookies or experienced players, they are always a force to be reckoned with,” said Okumu.

“It’s always nice to play against La Salle that’s when we go full force, we respect La Salle because of the program that they have. It’s always a good match up between us and La Salle,” he added.

Aside from Molde, other seniors Tots Carlos and Justine Dorog have stepped up their game, which what UP needs if it wants to contend.

The Maroons (1-1) and the Green Spikers (0-1) clash in the lone men’s match at 2 p.m.