La Salle looks to complete 3-peat

Posted at 03/05/2013 6:36 PM | Updated as of 03/06/2013 4:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The De La Salle Lady Spikers will look to clinch their third straight UAAP women's volleyball title when they take on the Ateneo Lady Eagles in Game 2 of the Season 75 finals Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Spikers rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat the Lady Eagles in five sets in Game 1 last Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

With Alyssa Valdez switching from open hitter to the middle, the Lady Eagles raced to a two-set advantage and looked as though they were on their way to a sweep after taking 13-8 lead in Set 3.

But the Lady Spikers showed championship poise and experience as they rallied to wins in Sets 3 and 4, then dominated Set 5 to move one win closer to their third straight women's volleyball championship.

"Nag-tiwala lang kami sa bawat isa. Alam namin na kami ang defending champion, kami ang back-to-back champion... We all worked as a team and we all worked individually to contribute to the points," said La Salle's Michele Gumabao, who tallied 15 markers in the victory.

For Game 2, La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus wants to see the Lady Spikers to showcase their dominant blocking defense.

"Mas kailangan pa namin mag-concentrate sa blocking," said De Jesus. "Sa first two sets, disorganized ang blocking namin."

Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb rued the various miscues committed by the Lady Eagles that contributed to their collapse.

"We just have to accept what happened again, and we have to learn from that mistake," Gorayeb said.

The Lady Eagles are not giving up without a fight, although Gorayeb acknowledges they are even bigger underdogs now.

"It's a tall order, because La Salle has a psychological advantage, but we will have to do our best," he said.