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Three-time champion La Salle zeroed in on the first semifinal berth as it thwarted Ateneo’s tough stand in the third and fourth sets to fashion out a 25-21, 25-15, 21-25, 26-24 victory yesterday for its fourth straight win in the Shakey’s V-League second conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Jacqueline Alarca’s block off Ateneo rookie Angeline Gervacio to clinch the victory for the Lady Archers, who held off their rivals in the first two sets, stumbled in the third but scrambled in the fourth frame to clinch their fourth win and keep their unblemished slate.
“They seemed to relax in the third and fourth sets. Our reception loosened up a bit that’s why our offense suffered,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo, who took over from head coach Ramil de Jesus. “It’s a good thing that Jacq (Alarca) stepped up.”
Earlier, San Sebastian College picked up its second win in row after an opening game setback, beating Lyceum, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, to stay behind unbeaten La Salle in the early going of the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and organized by Sports Vision.
Alarca’s final block was her fifth in the day as she finished with 20 hits while Manilla Santos added 14 points and the duo of Stephanie Mercado and Celine Hernandez tossed in 10 hits apiece for the Lady Archers, who skipped the first conference with the UST Tigresses to rebuild the team following the graduation of key players.
Charo Soriano, Ateneo’s guest alumna, combined with guest player Michelle Laborte and rookie Fille Cainglet and Gervacio in the third frame as the Lady Eagles foiled La Salle’s sweep bid. But the Taft-based spikers regrouped in the fourth, racing to a 19-10 advantage on Alarca’s service ace.
The Eagles, however, pounced on their rivals’ poor reception and took 14 of the next 19 points to force a tie at 24 on Laborte’s block and a wide hit by the Archers.