La Salle, UST spikers set 3rd title duel
- Joey Villar () - June 28, 2005 - 12:00am
La Salle defused Ateneo with a power game and fashioned out a 25-15, 29-27, 25-19 victory yesterday to arrange a third straight title showdown with defending champion University of Santo Tomas in the 2005 Shakey’s V-League first conference at the Rizal Coliseum.

Leaving nothing to chance, the Lady Archers jumped the gun early and overwhelmed the Lady Eagles in the opener, survived a near-foldup in the second before pouring all out in the third to complete the straight-set victory and another crack at the championship.

With a 4-1 (win-loss) slate, La Salle thus advanced to the finals with a playdate left in the double-round semis with the Tigresses later joining the Lady Archers on top and in the finals with a hard-earned 25-13, 20-25, 27-25, 27-25 victory over the San Sebastian Lady Stags.

Ateneo slid to 2-3.

After a first-set romp, the Tigresses looked forward to a trouble-free stint but got a big surprise when the Lady Stags snatched the second set and dragged them to a see-and-saw battle in the next two although the Espana-based spikers proved steadier in the end to prevail in 1:35.

Packing her shots with power, last year’s second conference MVP Michelle Carolino unloaded all of her 18 hits via kills as the Lady Archers remained on course of their bid for a back-to-back title in this event sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and backed by Accel, Mikasa, Dunkin’ Donuts, IBC-13 and Jemah Television.

The finals will be played July 4 to give way to the staging of the World Volleyball Grand Prix slated July 1-3 at the Philsports, according to the organizing Sports Vision Management Group, Inc.

So dominating was Carolino, member of the national squad seeing action in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games set Nov. 27-Dec. 5 in RP, who unleashed a flurry of spikes in one stretch that turned what had appeared to be a close contest into the rout.

One highlight in the second set showed Carolino nail a powerful kill in the right corner that hit a kneeling Ma. Theresa Iratay straight into her head that seemed to throw the Ateneo setter off-balanced.

"I told my players to play harder today (yesterday) because this game will clinch us another finals stint," said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus. "They responded to the challenge."

The win likewise avenged La Salle’s heartbreaking 25-19, 15-25, 23-25, 17-25 loss to Ateneo in the first round of semis last June 18.

"Gusto ring makabawi ng players ko sa Ateneo, tinalo kasi nila kami nung unang naglaban kami sa semifinals," added the soft-spoken de Jesus.

After a quick opening set win, La Salle found itself blowing 24-20 lead as Ateneo fought its way back, knocked in four straight points to knot the count at 24-all, and fought off three set points to tie it three more times, the last at 27-all.

A Desiree Hernandez spike and a drop shot by skipper Maureen Penetrante, the 2004 second conference’s best blocker, finished off the Lady Eagles as the Lady Archers went ahead, 2-0, and swept their rivals in the third set.

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