La Salle outplays FEU in cliffhanger

De La Salle University clawed its way out of a 1-2 hole before outlasting Far Eastern University, 25-13, 19-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-8, Saturday night in the Shakeys’ Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Veterans Alleiah Malaluan, Fifi Sharma, Jolina Dela Cruz and Thea Gagate provided the crucial hits in the fifth set as the Lady Spikers survived a jittery start in Pool D.

La Salle coach Noel Orcullo was far from satisfied with his wards’ opening game showing.

“Medyo wala sa huwisyo kumbaga parang sila pa ang na-intimidate sa kalaban which is kami ang dapat na mag-intimidate sa kanila dahil tinalo namin sila nu’ng UAAP,” he said.

The Lady Spikers even had to stave off a late Lady Tamaraws surge in the fourth set to force a deciding frame.

Behind a partisan crowd cheering them on, La Salle found renewed energy to build an 8-5 lead in the fifth set which the Lady Spikers then ballooned to 14-8 before Malaluan closed out the match with a booming crosscourt hit.

Marionne Alba had   18 points, Sharma posted 15 markers while Baby Jyne Soreno and Dela Cruz  logged in 14 markers each for the the Lady Spikers. Malaluan scored all of her 13 points on kills and Gagate finished with 12 for La Salle, who opted not to field prized rookie Angel Canino in the match as she recovers from an ankle injury.

FEU failed to pull off another five-set win to slide down to a 1-1 win-loss slate.

Christine Ubaldo led the Lady Tams with 16 points while Mitzi Paningin and Julianne Monares had 14 and 13

Meanwhile, Makana Kowalski came out smoking on all cylinders to power the debuting Ateneo de Manila University to a 25-14, 30-28, 25-17, win over Arellano University in Pool C.

Kowalski delivered a brilliant performance as she registered 16 points to lead the favored  Blue Eagles. Vannie Gandler and Takako Fujimoto added 11 markers each while Joan Narit chipped in 10 points for Ateneo.

The Blue Eagles had to work their way out of trouble in the second set, rallying from a 20-23 deficit before outlasting the Lady Chiefs in the extended frame.

With momentum on their side, Ateneo easily dismantled Arellano in the third set to walk away with the victory.

Kristine Adante was the only Lady Chiefs in double-digit scoring with 10 points.

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