Banged-up La Salle squad fends survives tough challenge from UP

DLSU won its first game without star Angel Canino (The UAAP Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

True champions find ways to rise to the occasion despite the adversity.

Heading into the contest without their superstar and former Rookie Most Valuable Player (MVP) Angel Canino who was sidelined due to an undisclosed injury, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers managed to take care of their business against the University of the Philippines (UP), 26-24, 25-19, 24-26, 27-25, in the ongoing UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball tournament on April 4, 2024, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Canino, who entered the venue in uniform but was wearing a cast on her arm, joined her teammates during their signature entrance but sat out the entire match.

The effect of Canino’s absence was instantly felt by the Lady Archers as they found early difficulties in setting up their offense but answering the call for head coach Ramil de Jesus was Alleiah Malaluan who erupted in the most perfect time for DLSU.

Malaluan filled in Canino’s role and was stellar in her attacks, ending the four-set thriller with 17 points, 11 excellent receptions, and nine digs.

It was Malaluan who helped the Lady Archers regain their composure after they let the third set slip away.

With momentum on UP’s side heading into the fourth and final set, the Lady Archers turned to Malalaun and she delivered in style, pummeling the ball with her running attacks and back row play.

Maicah Larroza, DLSU’s gem off the bench, also stepped up and provided the momentum-swinging plays.

The savvy outside hitter worked silently to backstop Malaluan with 12 markers derived from 10 successful attacks, 14 excellent digs, and 10 excellent receptions.

“Siguro nabigla yung mga bata, hindi inaasahan kasi nga wala si Angel pero sinabihan naman namin sila na maging ready lang. Kung sino yung papalit sa pwesto ni Angel maging ready lang,” said DLSU assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

The Lady Archers will gear up for a big match on April 10, 2024, as they attempt to redeem their first-round loss against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses.