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Saturday, May 25, 2024

La Salle, Adamson clash for Shakey’s volley tiara

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La Salle players celebrate.

La Salle attempts to zero in on capturing another crown, while Adamson is out to try usher in a new era in flying colors as they lock horns in the opening salvo of the 2023 Shakey’s Super League National Invitationals finale Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Action erupts at 4 p.m. with the Lady Spikers and the Lady Falcons racing to draw first blood in the short best-of-three finals to move on the cusp of being the first national champion of the SSL presented by Eurotel as the official hotel and Victory Liner as office transport provider, and in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

At 2 p.m, the University of Santo Tomas and and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta tie knot in the bronze-medal match, also under a best-of-three format.

Expectedly, the proven and tested La Salle as the reigning UAAP queen under the tutelage of Ramil de Jesus marches into battle as the heavy favorites but Adamson, the UAAP third-placer, beams with confidence under new mentor JP Yude after an impressive run so far.

The Lady Spikers, sans UAAP Rookie-MVP Angel Canino, swept their way into the Final Four before needing five sets to tame the UST while the Lady Falcons have yet to drop a single set in the entire 12-team SSL tourney, including a sweep of Perpetual in the other semis pairing.

Aside from Canino, La Salle is also without ace libero Justine Jazareno while dealing with the graduation of Jolina dela Cruz, Mars Alba and Fifi Sharma. Adamson, for its part, lost a bevy of players led Trisha Tubu and Kate Santiago to the pros.

But even with a different cast, both squads are raring to empty their clips for a 1-0 lead in the nationwide tilt that featured 12 bets from the NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with support from Mikasa, Team Rebel Sports, Summit Bottled Water, Genius Sports, Potato Corner, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar, and R&B Tea.

“Kailangan paghandaan at aralin namin ‘yung Adamson kasi marami rin nawala sa kanila tulad sa amin. Unfamiliar din sa amin kasi puro bago ‘yung players nila. Kailangan malaman namin ‘yung tendencies nila,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo ahead of their first meeting with the Lady Falcons since the UAAP Season 85.

Albeit without a string of standouts, La Salle — which also aims to avenge its runner-up finish in the first SSL collegiate pre-season tilt behind champion National U — is still formidable as ever with the twin towers of Shevana Laput and Thea Gagate patrolling the net as well as Alleiah Malaluan spearheading their attack.

The troika led by Malaluan headlined their epic comeback win against the Golden Tigresses from 1-2 set deficit, marked by a total of 10 match points saved in the fourth set and the extended clincher that culminated at 26-24 from the usual race-to-15 duel.

On the other hand, Adamson hardly met a resistance from Perpetual, in spite of its massive win against two-time NCAA champion College of St. Benilde in the quarterfinals, by clinching a finals ticket in straight sets with Lucille Almonte, Lorene Toring and Ayesha Juegos as well as rookie Red Bascon.

That should be enough motivation to put up a gallant stand against the mighty La Salle with hopes of completing an upset ax.

“We’ll be prepared against La Salle. We must continue the processs. We must endure it. Mahirap talaga. Si Lord na bahala sa resulta ng paghihirap namin,” said Yude.

All SSL matches are accessible across all platforms live and on-demand with Plus Network Digital Media Services, CNN Philippines, Solar Sports Entertainment and TAP Sports serving as media partners.

The historic National Invitationals, with support from Boy Tuikinhoy of Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc., Alex Adeva of Northern Mindanao Volleyball Association of Coaches and Referees and San Juan Red Cross chapter, are also showing live in all Shakey’s branches nationwide.

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