De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas forged a highly-anticipated semifinal duel, coming away with contrasting wins in the 2023 Shakey’s Super League National Invitationals knockout quarterfinals Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Spikers hardly broke a sweat against Mindanao bet Jose Maria College Foundation, 25-18, 25-14, 25-19, as the Golden Tigresses needed four sets to fend off Luzon qualifier and National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities champion Enderun Colleges,
25-13, 25-16, 21-25, 25-14.
La Salle and UST will collide on Friday in the first Final Four pairing, three months after their semis battle in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 eventually won by the Lady Spikers.
Proving that they are the UAAP champions for obvious reason, the Lady Spikers just would not be stopped even in the SSL featuring champions from the National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with yet another sweep in 67 minutes.
The twin towers of Shevana Laput and Thea Gagate once again ran roughshod both on offense and defense to lead La Salle’s third easy win in a row without a single set yielded in the 12-team SSL.
“We still have a lot to fix heading into the semis. It’s going to be a different kind of battle there,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo, who believes his wards have more to offer despite equally big wins against University of the Perpetual Help System Dalta and Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. runner-up University of Southern Philippines Foundation in Pool A play.
Later, Angeline Poyos pumped in 18 points on 12 attacks, two blocks and four aces as UST recovered in time to buck a scare from Enderun, which banked on a 12-5 start to snatch a 21-25 win in the fourth set.
Regina Jurado and Athena Abbu added 10 and nine points, respectively, with Xyza Gula, Jonna Perdido and Maribeth Hilongo chipping in eight points each in the match that lasted one hour and 36 minutes.
“We have to give credit to our opponent. They really worked hard for it,” UST coach Kungfu Reyes said.