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La Salle weathers gallant UST to open three-peat bid

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) De La Salle University opened its campaign for a third consecutive women's volleyball title on a winning note, but not before going through a nerve-wracking five-set battle against University of Santo Tomas on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Spikers displayed championship composure in the final set to come away with a difficult 25-20, 17-25, 25-22, 15-25, 15-8 over the gutsy, gallant Tigresses in their first game of UAAP Season 80 front of a capacity crowd at the Pasig City venue.

Reigning MVP Majoy Baron paced the Lady Spikers with 19 points on 12 attacks, five blocks, and two aces. Season 79 Finals MVP Desiree Cheng had 12 points, while Aduke Ogunsanya added 10 markers. Kianna Dy, who was playing on a hyperextended left knee, finished with nine points in the game.

La Salle puts up a defensive wall against UST's Milena Alessandrini. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports
The Lady Spikers weathered a stunning 28-point effort from UST's Sisi Rondina, who dragged her team back in the game in the second set with her ferocious attacks.

"Talagang expected namin na hindi ganun kadaling talunin ang UST. Kahit sa Unigames, medyo nahirapan yung team namin. Although maraming bago dun sa lineup so maraming napapaikot na tao," said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus after their win.

After splitting the first two frames, La Salle outlasted UST in the third set for a 2-1 lead. The Tigresses forced a 21-all deadlock, but Baron conspired with Dy to bring the Lady Spikers to victory with clutch kills.

Author: Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News
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