They just lost it…and in a very frustrating way. After playing a dismal game on Game 1, you would’ve taught they’d be able to finally adjust and address the flaws in their plays. But they didn’t. It was the same story for La Salle on Game 2 and it cost them the Championship in 4 sets (18-25, 14-25, 25-16, 15-25).
Unforced errors, poor reception, and imprecise sets were written all over the 1st set for the Lady Spikers. Since the team couldn’t receive well, Martinez, setter, wasn’t able to set up killing plays. Middle attacks were neutralized and drop shots weren’t good enough for the UST floor defense. Service errors, net interference, and attack mishits piled up giving free points to the Tigresses.
Through the course of the 2nd set they still weren’t able to regroup and build momentum. Even though they gained an early lead, faulty reception and sets kept on creeping in and crippling their game. It was the same story for Set 2… only it had gotten worse.
On Set 3, Coach Ramil took a risk by positioning Cha Cruz, an open spiker, to do setting chores instead of Martinez; an act of desperation to save the game, perhaps, but Cha really delivered to set up plays effective enough for her spikers to penetrate the UST block and score points. It came out as a surprise because I didn’t know she was an alternate setter. Cha Cruz really turned the gears for La Salle, contributing in both setting and blocking duties. And as the set went on, errors suddenly came pouring in from the opponent’s side giving them free points. Momentum had finally shifted. The girls in green could block more. They were able to receive better, and with Cha Cruz’s excellent sets, were able to bring down balls on the UST floor. Open, middle and running attacks came to life piling up the points for them to win the crucial set.
The Lady Spikers, once again took an early lead by the start of Set 4, but they failed to keep up the momentum they gained from the previous set. With Cha setting for most of the set, they fought for every point. But after the first technical time-out, La Salle was once again haunted by the old ghosts from Sets 1 and 2. They just lapsed into E-R-R-O-R-S. I think it is safe to say that they gave away the game with the way they played that set. Hays.
Even though it breaks my heart, I really applaud the UST Team. They deserve it. They were able to master the pressure and just play their game. One thing remarkable about the Tigresses is their consistency, which La Salle fell short of. La Salle finished on top by the end of the eliminations but they weren’t able to peak up their game unlike UST, which peaked at the right time. But that’s a game. Someone should lose, right?
I’m looking forward to see these girls play again next season. But of course, there’s still the Shakey’s V-League to look forward this coming April.