UAAP: La Salle earns tough win over UP without Angel Canino

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La Salle Lady Spikers celebrate a point against UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

La Salle badly missed a crucial keystone in its rotation before escaping with a thrilling 26-24, 25-20, 24-26, 27-25 win over University of the Philippines on Thursday at the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

The defending champions had to endure the absence of Angel Canino and the stiff resistance from the Lady Maroons as they inched toward a clear Final Four stint with their eighth victory after nine games.

Shevana Laput and Alleiah Malaluan took over the task of filling the void left by Canino, last season’s rookie-MVP who had to sit out the match after suffering from an accident.

READ: Angel Canino has right arm injury, out for La Salle vs UP

“She got into an accident, there are cuts in her arms. Her status is being monitored day to day, but we don’t know when she will be able to play,’’ said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

Canino wore a sling in her right arm while egging on her teammates at the bench.

“Her being there is motivation for sure. We’re doing her justice and we’re giving her peace of mind by winning for her,’’ said Laput after tallying 21 points, 18 of them attacks.

Malaluan fired 16 attacks out of her 17 points while Maicah Larroza added 12 points, 14 digs and 10 receptions for the Lady Spikers, who will seal a semifinal appearance outright should the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws defeat the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the other game.

La Salle Lady Spikers star Angel Canino

La Salle Lady Spikers star Angel Canino is sidelined with arm injury in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Julia Coronel again stepped up, finishing with 17 excellent sets that went well with five points and three blocks capped by her deflection on Joan Monares’ attack at match point.

“Our team isn’t dependent on one player alone because everybody is capable of delivering. There’s still more that you haven’t seen in this team,’’ said Larroza.

READ: La Salle not satisfied despite latest win in UAAP women’s volleyball

The Lady Maroons kept La Salle on its toes throughout the first set with Irah Jaboneta and Stephanie Bustrillo unloading most of the damage.

But Coronel was able to pull the Lady Spikers free from the tight contest at 24-all with an uncontested push and Laput rose from the back row to unfurl another attack at set point.

Momentum was on La Salle’s side in the next set with Laput and Jyne Soreno fully engaged in bombarding the Lady Maroons’ lair.

After Nica Celis’ spike flew beyond the end line, Thea Gagate came down with two successive blocks that enabled the Lady Spikers to gain control.

Soreno launched two crosscourt strikes that sandwiched Malaluan’s down-the-line hit that wrapped up the set.

The Lady Spikers were on their way to completing a sweep as they blasted UP with an assortment of hits early in the third set.

Julyana Tolentino’s stealthy push coupled with a Larroza crosscourt assault and Amie Provido’s strike through the block built a nine-point advantage, a cushion they thought they could sustain until the end.

But the Lady Maroons patiently stormed back from a wide deficit by pouncing on La Salle’s unforgivable errors.

Nina Ytang blocked Laput’s attack that leveled the count at 24 and Joan Monares gave UP the edge in the next sequence with a hit through the block.

An attack error by Laput at set point allowed the Lady Maroons to extend the match.

UP engaged the defending champions in a long back-and-forth contest in the fourth set only to let opportunity slip from its grasp.

Back-to-back hits by Bustrillo and a crosscourt attack courtesy of Ytang pushed them closer to another set win, 21-19, that threatened to send the nailbiter to the limit.



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But Malaluan came to La Salle’s rescue, delivering three consecutive hits that tied it one last time at 25, before Larroza fired another spike to the back row and Coronel deflected Monares’ attack at matchpoint.

The Lady Maroons leaned on Jaboneta’s 18 points and Bustrillo’s 16 attacks while Geisha Capistrano had 20 receptions and 13 digs in another harrowing defeat, their ninth overall in 10 games.





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