Commentary: Volleyball’s sweeping, smashing success
Lito A. Tacujan (The Philippine Star) - May 8, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - It was a virtual “theme park” ride to immortality.

The La Salle’s Lady Spikers caught the final surge of what their multi-titled mentor called “a roller coaster” season, beating archrivals Ateneo Lady Eagles in a shattering five-setter before over 20,000 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday.

It was the mother of all title duels with all the frills, spills and ebbing wills to win, all the twists and turns of a thriller as La Salle came back from the brink for a 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10 decision to retain the UAAP women’s volleyball crown.  

The win led to a 10th crown overall for La Salle in a feat coach Ramil de Jesus described as the most memorable in a 20-year stint with the Taft-based school.

“It’s one roller-coaster of a season,” he said amid the din and roar in the venue.

But above all, despite the consuming rivalry of the two schools, the grinding suspense, the hell-for-leather exchanges in almost every play, it was a joy to watch to the very end.

Credit the players. Breaking into smiles, happy hugs, encouraging taps and embraces for every point scored, for every attack completed, block and defense put up.

For their youth and exuberance, they dished out maturity in their game, purity in their heart and unwavering desire not to lose, not to this No. 1 enemy.

And it encapsulated the long drive to keep the reign by the Lady Spikers in one of the most competitive fields in UAAP women’s volleyball from elims to a torrid race to the Final Four.

The drama-fraught finale churned out slew of heroines like La Salle’s Kim Kiana Dy, Final MVP Des Cheng, season MVP Majoy Baron, Kim Fajardo, Tim Tiamzon and Dawn Macandili and Ateneo’s Michelle Morante, Jhoanna Maraguinot, Jia Morado, Bea de Leon and Kat Tolentino, all shining in the cauldron of the showdown.

Above all, it further boosts the popularity of women’s volleyball as the most watched team sport outside of basketball.

It’s a phenom of a success story the past 10 years that has produced rival leagues as volleyball used to the hilt a sure-fire formula for made-for-TV spectator sport – unrelenting action, shifting fortunes at every serve and charming volleybelles ready to live or die for a kill. 

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