Monday , May 20 2024

NU’s bid to end heartaches to La Salle could get needed help

La Salle Lady Spikers star Angel Canino–

La Salle Lady Spikers star Angel Canino–MARLO CUETO/

La Salle has had National University’s number for all of their past five meetings, counting their first round clash in Season 86 of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

And though they wouldn’t necessarily say it, the Lady Bulldogs know that their best chance of snapping that streak in futility will come on Sunday when they collide in the second round and La Salle star Angel Canino likely to be out or be far from 100 percent at best.

“I am confident that our team can fight, with or without Angel (playing),” Bella Belen, National’s own charismatic star, said after the Lady Bulldogs strengthened their bid for a twice-to-beat edge with a comprehensive 25-22, 25-16, 25-15 victory over Ateneo on Wednesday.

“Each one of us knows what our job is and what our goal is,” the first-ever Rookie of the Year (ROY)-Most Valuable Player (MVP) added. “We can’t lose to them (Lady Spikers) in this second round because we are in a crucial stage now.”

University of Santo Tomas continues to lead the field with a 10-1 record, with La Salle at 9-1 and National at 9-2 after the win over the Blue Eagles. They are all in the Final Four, with only the fourth qualifier, which Far Eastern has an inside track on, and the top two to be determined.

Bandaged right hand

Canino, who replicated Belen’s ROY-MVP feat in leading La Salle to the title last season, has been out the last two games after an undisclosed accident left her right hand in a heavy bandage. Team officials have refused to comment on the injury, although assistant coach Noel Orcullo said last week that their ace “is being monitored.”

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La Salle has struggled to win its last two games with Canino out, and this could be a golden chance for the Lady Bulldogs to snap that spell and unseat La Salle at second, depending on how many sets the game on Sunday goes.

Santo Tomas and National have three games left and La Salle four, making the chase for the semifinal edge more interesting if Canino fails to come back.

And the Bulldogs know that they have the firepower to contend with anyone.

“I am happy with the team’s performance because we can see that we are rising nearer to our goal,” Alyssa Solomon, who finished with a team-high 23 points against Ateneo, said. “We can’t be complacent and we should always have that motivation to win.

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