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La Salle boots out Ateneo to claim last finals seat, to face off vs. NU in UAAP women’s volleyball finals

The De La Salle University captured the last ticket to the finals, dethroning fourth-ranked Ateneo de Manila University, 25-19, 25-20, 25-23, in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball stepladder, Thursday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Lady Spikers will thus move on to the finals for the 11th time in 12 years, missing it only during Season 81.

Leading by just two points midway through the third period, the Lady Spikers unleashed a 6-1 blast to establish a commanding 21-14 lead. But the Blue Eagles refused to go down, answering with an 8-2 counter to inch within one, 22-23.

However, Thea Gagate took one back on a quick kill before Erika Raagas pulled Ateneo back within one, 23-24, then Alleiah Malaluan put the exclamation point with an off-the-block hit for the clincher, 25-23.

“‘Yung Ateneo nakita natin gumapang against Adamson and UST 3-0 so yung momentum nandoon. Nagready lang yung team of course the effort should be times two, times three para mastop yung Ateneo,” said La Salle assistant coach Benson Bocboc.

Needing just two points to seal the first set, Lady Gagate went to work with a block on Vanie Gandler before targeting Faith Nisperos on the serve for the ace, 25-19.

Ahead 22-20 in the second period, Fifi Sharma and Julia Coronel combined for the next three points punctuated by the former’s rejection of Nisperos, for the 2-0 La Sallelead, 25-20.

All in double figures, Malaluan, Jolina Dela Cruz, and Gagate took turns wreaking havoc for La Salle.

Super rookie Malaluan had 16 points on 15 attacks and a block, while Gagate and Dela Cruz chipped in 13 points apiece, with the former having four blocks while the latter tallying three aces.

Sharma added eight points as well while Leila Cruz registered six points.

Nisperos was the lone Blue Eagle in twin digits with 19 points to go with 15 excellent receptions followed by Raagas with nine.

The Lady Spikers will battle the 14-0 National University in the best-of-three Finals starting on Saturday, at 5 pm.

“I think level yung playing field (sa Finals). I don’t think may value dito ‘yung 14-0 ‘no. Umabot tayo ng Finals best-of-three so unahan na lang kami sino unang makapanalo,” said Bocboc.

La Salle boots out Ateneo to claim last finals seat, to face off vs. NU in UAAP women’s volleyball finals