UAAP Volleyball: La Salle tightens its hold on No. 2 after clearing the UE

La Salle's Thea Gageet.  UAAP pictures

La Salle’s Thea Gageet. UAAP pictures

MANILA, Philippines – La Salle booked a ticket to the final four after beating the former undefeated University 25-12, 25-19, 25-22 at the UAAP Season 84 Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.

Thea Gagate and Leiah Malaluan led the way for the Lady Spykers to win for the fourth time in a row as they improved their 9-3 record to clinch second place.

La Salle became the second team to reach the final four this season, with the undefeated leader joining National University (12-0).

Gaggett provided nine strikes and three blocks to finish with 12 points, as Malaluan also scored 12 builds on 11 spikes and one tacker and 13 great receptions to take his team to the 12th post season from the 2008-09 season.

Fifi Sharma, Leila Cruz and Matt Espina were also in key roles, each chiming in with eight points.

Espina made the most of his first start at La Salle, showing great defensive effort with eight digs and a dive great reception, with Libero helping Justin Zazareno, who had 20 digs.

“So far we have won 3-0 for it. But the UE really fought hard with their defense. They did not give up. They forced long processions. We’ve been successful with our blocking, “said Benson Buckbok, assistant coach at La Salle, whose wards led the Lady Red Warriors to an 8-0 lead in the blocking.

“We still have a lot to do for the last two games,” he added.

UE fought a 19-14 deficit in the third set as Dara Niva cut it twice to 21-20 and 22-21. But Mal জাuan stopped the bloodshed for La Salle after Ja Lana’s attacking error to reach the match point 24-21.

Rhea Manalo saved a point, but Cruz sealed the victory with a kill for Lady Spykers

Niva leads Lady Red Warriors with 12 points, while Manalo has 10 points. Lana was relegated to just five of the UE’s 12 games without a win – its 16th consecutive defeat in Season 81 in 2019.

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