Home Sports La Salle goes through the wringer before tabbing Final Four spot

La Salle goes through the wringer before tabbing Final Four spot


UAAP 86 women's volleyball DLSU-UE Shevana LaputLa Salle


La Salle weathered the storm whipped up by University of the East (UE) alright, but it was a survival act the Lady Spikers are not proud of.

Without prolific hitter Angel Canino for the second straight game, the Lady Spikers have struggled holding the fort as the race for the top two slots in the Final Four of Season 86 of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament starts hitting fever pitch.

“They still miss playing with Angel badly. Although she’s there to support us, she couldn’t be present on the floor with her teammates,’’ said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo following a scary 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-12 win on Tuesday night against the out-of-it-all Lady Warriors.

Neither Orcullo nor Canino’s teammates know the time frame of their ace player’s return. Canino figured in an undisclosed accident and sustained cuts and bruises in her arms.“She’s being monitored. She began to receive therapy on her hand, so let’s see when Angel would be able to heal fully,’’ said Orcullo.

“Angel is a leader who can push and motivate her teammates. I told them that everybody should be a leader on the floor (while Canino remains out of commission).”

For the meantime, middle blockers Thea Gagate and Shevana Laput are filling the void of last season’s rookie-MVP together with Amie Provido and veterans Alleiah Malaluan, Maicah Larroza and team captain Julia Coronel.

‘A bad win’

“With Angel gone, we have to step up. Gradually we’re doing that, but we’re still working on ourselves. Like coach (Orcullo) said, it was a bad win. There’s so much more that we could have done better,’’ said Laput.It wasn’t really bad after all since the Lady Spikers now share top spot with the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses at 9-1 as both are now assured of a Final Four slot along with third-running National University.

“I keep on reminding my teammates that we have to love what we are doing. But sometimes emotions get in the way, so we have to stay calm to be more focused,’’ said Gagate as they shoot for a twice-to-beat edge with four games left in their elimination round schedule.Gagate delivered 22 points built around 17 attacks apart from three blocks and two aces.

Laput also had 17 attacks and finished 21 points, while Coronel fueled their offense with 22 excellent sets and two aces.KC Cepada worked wonders for the Lady Warriors, as she give UE another offensive option aside from rookie Casiey Dongallo by pumping in 23 points on 19 kills apart from six digs and two aces.

Dongallo was likewise on attack mode throughout, finishing with 23 points. She also had five aces and three blocks for the Lady Warriors, who fell in a tie with the Adamson Lady Falcons at 2-8.

The Lady Spikers were dragged to four sets by tailender University of the Philippines last week.

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“The character of our team is being tested. Hopefully, these types of games that we had won’t happen again,’’ said Orcullo. INQ

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