Lady Spikers eye early lead, collide with Lady Tams

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Lady Spikers eye early lead, collide with Lady Tams
The Lady Spikers made short work of the Adamson Lady Falcons last weekend and vow no let-up versus the Lady Tamaraws.
UAAP Media Bureau

Games Wednesday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

10 a.m. – DLSU vs FEU (men’s)
12 p.m. – UE vs UST (men’s)
2 p.m. – DLSU vs FEU (women’s)
4 p.m. – UE vs UST (women’s)

MANILA, Philippines – After a show of force in the opener, reigning champion La Salle is out to pull away early from the pack when it spikes for a second straight win against Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Lady Spikers made short work of the Adamson Lady Falcons last weekend and vow no let-up versus the Lady Tamaraws at 2 p.m. before the duel between fellow opening-day winners University of the East and University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.

La Salle needed only 74 minutes to score an easy 25-16, 25-16, 25-18 win over Adamson and hand head coach Ramil de Jesus his 300th career win in the UAAP.

But as heavy favorites the Lady Spikers are, they are far from reaching full form with basically a rejigged squad following the departure of their championship core — save for Rookie-MVP Angel Canino and Thea Gagate.

“Nakikita ko kailangan pa nila mas mag-jell,” said De Jesus, noting the team's young setter Julia Coronel and libero Lyka de Leon.

“Kailangan namin mag-adjust nang todo-todo doon at iyon ang i-work-out namin.”

La Salle, with Finals MVP Mars Alba as setter and Justine Jazareno as libero, rammed through the UAAP en route to the UAAP Season 85 championship, also made possible by captain Jolina dela Cruz and middle blocker Fifi Sharma.

Albeit with a young squad this time, the Lady Spikers are still tagged as the top team to beat with a win against FEU for a quick 2-0 slate bolstering that stature.

UST, for its part, is also dealing with the post-Eya Laure era but hardly felt it in a stunning 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 win over former champion National U that should be enough motivation entering an expected tough duel against the retooled UE.

Led by high school sensation Casiey Monique Dongallo and other stalwarts from the California Academy, the Lady Warriors beat the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-18, for the first time in 14 years.

“Andiyan na halos lahat ng mga bata. Young at age, pero sa experience, mas marami pa silang nilaro sila kaysa (sa team namin). Seasoned players na rin yan in a way kaya di mo pwedeng biruin o i-underestimate yung mga bata kasi susuwagin ka ng mga yan,” said coach Kungfu Reyes, who will be banking on the troika of Regina Jurado, Jonna Perdido and Angeline Poyos, with playmaker Cassie Carballo and ace libero Bernadett Pepito.

Meanwhile, in the men's tilt, La Salle (1-0) and FEU (1-0) clash at 10 a.m. followed by the match between UE (0-1) and UST (1-0) at 12 p.m.

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