La Salle dethrones NU for UAAP women’s volleyball crown – rezal404

La Salle Lady Spikers clinch the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball championship.  -UAAP PHOTO

La Salle Lady Spikers clinch the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball championship. -UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–On the day six of its standouts were crowned as season’s best, La Salle claimed the one that truly mattered.

The top-ranked Lady Spikers showed tremendous fight in the clutch to crawl back from an early two-set deficit and hack out an epic 19-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 15-10 victory to sweep the UAAP women’s volleyball crown off National University’s head Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Thea Gagate played splendidly on both ends in the deciding fifth set to help reinstate La Salle as a powerhouse in the competition where it was once the proverbial bar for many schools.

Angel Canino, the newly minted Rookie Most Valuable Player, was just as spectacular for the Taft-based squad.

Sunday’s title is the first for the Lady Spikers since 2018 and the program’s 12th overall.

Freshman Angel Canino was just as spectacular for the Lady Spikers with a team-high 19 points on the day she has crowned the Rookie-Most Valuable Player.

“Ginusto ng mga bata na manalo. Kahit tung down kami, sabi namin di pa tapos ‘yan, kailangang gumapang tayo para makuha natin. At least, tinyaga nga tung mga bata,” said interim coach Noel Orcullo.

“Kahit sabihin mong five sets? Masarap manalo kung pinaghirapan mo,” he added.

La Salle's Angel Canino.  -UAAP PHOTO

La Salle’s Angel Canino. -UAAP PHOTO

“There’s always pressure. But sinasabi ko lang sa sarili ko na huwag na isipin ‘yung nasa labas, but kung ano pa ang meron na ilalaban—yung goal—which is for us to be champions,” said Canino.

Gagate finished with 17 points, including three big plays before 20,514 screaming souls at the bayside venue.

Named as the season’s First Best Middle Blocker, Gagate came through with two key blocks against NU’s Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen, and most importantly the championship-sealing point for the Lady Spikers.

Graduating setter Mars Alba took home Finals MVP honors.

“Nangangatog na talaga kasi pinaghirapan namin yung season na ‘to,” she said of the five-set thriller. “But thank you kay Lord, kay coach Ramil (De Jesus) at his mga patuloy na naniniwala samin since Day One.”

La Salle gained some measure of payback in the victory as the Lady Spikers also avenged being blanked by the Lady Bulldogs in last season’s finalé.

La Salle also never dropped a match to NU this year. Save for a stunning upset to University of Santo Tomas in the Final Four, the Lady Spikers have been nothing but untouchable this season.

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