Wednesday, May 02, 2018

DSLU Lady Spikers Repeat the Three-peat and the NU Bulldogs Win Again

Congratulations to the DLSU Lady Spikers for winning the UAAP Women's Volleyball Championship! Add this to their titles in the previous two seasons and you have another three-peat. La Salle has now achieved this remarkable feat three times - S66 to S68, S73 to S74, and now S78 to S80. They have also won the title 7 times in the last 10 years and they have competed in the finals in each of those 10 years. That is impressive.

The Lady Spikers had two losses in the first round - against NU and Adamson - but proceeded to win all of their games after that. They faced FEU in the finals after the Lady Tamaraws beat the Ateneo Lady Eagles in the semifinals, marking the first time in the last 6 years that Ateneo failed to the reach the finals. FEU captain Bernadeth Pons played inspired volleyball the entire season and while it helped the Lady Tams get to the final for the first time since S71, it wasn't enough against the DLSU juggernaut. In fact, the Lady Spikers were so dominant late in the season that they didn't drop a set in the semifinals against NU and in the finals against FEU. Dawn Macandili made history yet again for being the first libero to be awarded Finals MVP in the UAAP.

DLSU will need to replace some incredible players next year since Dawn, Kim Dy, and Majoy Baron are all graduating. In fact, this trio are so impressive that they each have a UAAP MVP award - Kim was finals MVP in S78, Majoy was season MVP in S79, and Dawn is finals MVP this year. Wow!

On the men's side, National University finally came out on top against Ateneo, the team that brought them heartache over the last 3 years. While NU won the title back in S76 against Ateneo, the Blue Eagles with the help of volleyball legend Marck Espejo, beat NU in the finals in each of the last 3 years. ADMU seemed to still have the edge over NU in the first round but NU finally broke a 13-game losing streak against their rivals to end the second round. There was no looking back after that.

Not to say the road to the trophy was easy. Ateneo played tremendously well in Game 2 of the finals after NU beat them in straight sets in Game 1. The game was so close that both sets 2 and 4 went way past 25 points. NU won set 2 with a score of 31-29 and they also won set 4 with an even more incredible score of 33-31. In the end, it was NU's wider range of scoring options that got them the win.

Bryan Bagunas was awarded finals MVP but I have to mention the fact that Mark Espejo achieved something that may not be achieved by anyone else in my lifetime (or ever): he won season MVP in all five years that he played in the UAAP, including during his rookie year. In fact, he also got at least two awards in each of those playing years. Phenomenal!

Congratulations again to the DLSU Lady Spikers and the NU Bulldogs!

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