La Salle, UST forge semis duel in SSL

August 2, 2023 People's Tonight 329 views

LA SALLE and University of Santo Tomas forged a highly-anticipated semifinal duel, coming away with contrasting wins in the 2023 Shakey’s Super League (SSL) 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 (JMCF), 25-18, 25-14, 25-19, as the Golden Tigresses needed four sets to fend off Luzon qualifier and NAASCU champion Enderun Colleges, 25-13, 25-16, 21-25, 25-14.

La Salle and UST collide on Friday in the first Final Four pairing, three months after their semis battle in the UAAP Season 85 eventually won by the spikers from Taft.

Proving that they’re the UAAP champions for a glaring reason, the Lady Spikers just would not be stopped even in the SSL featuring champions from NCR, 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 presented by Eurotel as the official hotel and Victory Liner as office transport provider, and in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

“Marami pa rin kaming dapat ayusin heading into the semis. Ibang labanan na doon,” said deputy mentor Noel Orcullo, who believed his wards have more to offer despite equally big wins against University of the Perpetual Help System Dalta and CESAFI 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.

“Ice-credit mo rin ‘yung kalaban mo kasi hindi naman kami ‘yung pinakamagaling na hindi pwedeng matalo kaya nga kami nandito. Ganoon din ‘yung Enderun, trinabaho nila,” said coach Kungfu Reyes.

It’s the first set allowed by UST after blanking La Salle-Dasma and CESAFI champion University of San Jose-Recoletos but should serve handy in a bid to stun powerhouse La Salle in the semis of SSL also backed by Mikasa, Team Rebel Sports, Summit Bottled Water, Genius Sports, Potato Corner, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar, and R&B Tea.

Adamson and USJ-R as well as College of St. Benilde and Perpetual are still duking it out as of press time to complete the Final Four cast.

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.