Unbeaten DLSU battles FEU in UAAP volleyball
NIEL VICTOR MASOY
The Manila Times
DE La Salle University aims to stay perfect when it battles Far Eastern University today, March 29, in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Unbeaten through eight games, the league-leading Lady Spikers battle the fifth ranked Lady Tamaraws at 2 p.m. La Salle is coming off a 26-24, 26-24, 25-16 win over defending champion National University last Saturday, giving head coach Ramil de Jesus a winning return in the UAAP. De Jesus missed the entire first round of the season due to personal reasons as interim coach Noel Orcullo called the shots for the Lady Spikers, who swept their season series against the Lady Bulldogs. Coaching La Salle against NU at the start of the tournament’s second round was the first time De Jesus stepped in a UAAP setting since Game Two of last year’s Season 84 Finals on June 21. His presence certainly boosted the morale of the powerhouse La Salle squad, which became even more confident after its season series sweep of NU, its tormentor in the UAAP Finals last year. “It was a confidence booster for each one of us. As coach Ramil said, it’s rare to have a chance at a 7-0 or 8-0 start. We just grabbed the opportunity to even boost our confidence,” said wing spiker Jolina de la Cruz. Orcullo, meanwhile, hopes that the Lady Spikers can minimize their errors against the Lady Tamaraws after giving up 12 against the Lady Bulldogs. “Hopefully, by the next game, we can reduce our errors to single digits. We’re going to work on that,” shared Orcullo, who said that it is de Jesus’ call if he’s going to take the helm for La Salle or not against FEU and in the remainder of the season. “I don’t know what will be our setup yet, if it’s game-to-game or he will be coaching [for the rest of the season]. It depends on his call.” On the other hand, FEU would have its head coach Tina Salak calling the shots from the sidelines. Salak and the Lady Tamaraws rose to 4-4 after a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of the UP Fighting Maroons last Saturday. Even in an up-and-down, winlose-win campaign, Salak said she’s starting to see that her FEU team is putting itself in a good position to make the Final Four. “I can see the light. Hopefully, we can be successful in terms of our team goal this second round and we can get more wins,” said Salak. In the other women’s game, University of the East and University of Santo Tomas collide at 12 p.m. Today’s quadruple-header will be opened by the men’s division battle between UE and UST at 10 a.m. and will be capped by the La Salle and FEU men’s tussle at 4 p.m.