MANILA, Philippines — La Salle booked a ticket to the Final Four after beating winless Eastern University 25-12, 25-19, 25-22 on Saturday at the Women’s Basketball Tournament. UAAP season 84 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Thea Gagate and Leiah Malaluan led the way for the Lady Spikers by claiming their fourth straight win to tighten their grip on second place with an improved 9-3 record.
La Salle became the second team to enter the Final Four this season, joining undefeated leaders National University (12-0).
Gagate delivered nine kills and three blocks to finish with 12 points, while Malaluan also scored 12 built on 11 points and an ace and had 13 great receptions to lead his team to its 12th straight postseason since the 2008 season- 09.
Fifi Sharma, Leila Cruz and Matet Espina were also instrumental, with eight points each.
Espina made the most of her first start for La Salle, showing great defensive effort with eight digs and excellent diving receptions, helping libero Justine Jazareno, who had 20 digs.
“So far we got a 3-0 win for that. But UE really fought with their defence. They didn’t give up. They forced long rallies. said La Salle assistant coach Benson Bocboc, whose quarters outshot the Lady Red Warriors in blocking, 8-0.
“We still have a lot to work on for our last two games,” he added.
EU fought back from a 19-14 deficit in the third set as Dara Nieva reduced it to one twice, 21-20 and 22-21. But Malaluan stopped the bleeding for La Salle followed by Ja Lana’s attacking error to reach match point, 24-21.
Rhea Manalo saved a point, but Cruz sealed the victory with a kill for the Lady Spikers
Nieva led the Lady Red Warriors with 12 points, while Manalo had 10 scorers. Lana had just five games as UE went winless in 12 games – their 16th straight defeat dating back to Season 81 in 2019.
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