MANILA, Philippines–La Salle outlasted University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 16-25, 25-8, 15-25, 16-14, on Sunday at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rookie Angel Canino delivered 16 attacks out of her 18 points plus one block and an ace while Jolina Dela Cruz added 14 points as the Lady Spikers survived the first five-setter of the season.
“Both teams were capable of winning. It was so intense and it all came down to the breaks of the game. We just got lucky in the end,’’ said La Salle interim coach Noel Ocullo on his baptism of fire in the UAAP.
It was pure luck, indeed, for the Lady Spikers after Milena Alessandrini and Eya Laure handed them the victory on a platter.
Alessandrini, the former rookie of the year, committed a service error, giving their foes the advantage in the final set, 15-14, before Laure’s power drive went out of bounds to the delight of the jampacked La Salle crowd.
“I just kept on thinking that this game will be ours. We just pushed ourselves and gave it our all,’’ said Canino, La Salle’s prized-find from Bacolod City.
The Lady Spikers seemed headed for a quick disposal of the Tigresses after seizing the third set in runaway fashion behind the heroics of Leila Cruz, Thea Gagate, Dela Cruz and Canino.
But the Tigresses refused to just roll over with Laure and Alessandrini pulling out a bag of tricks that stunned La Salle in the fourth frame.
Laure had 19 points, highlighted by 17 attacks, that went along with eight digs, while the comebacking Alessandrini, who suffered a knee injury in Season 81, finished with nine kills out of her 10 points.
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