DLSU hacks out crucial UAAP victory over UE without Angel Canino

DLSU survives without Angel Canino to pull off the gutsy win over UE. (The UAAP Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers survived another game without superstar Angel Canino after nipping the University of the East (UE) in a thrilling five-set affair, 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-12, in the ongoing UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball tournament on April 9, 2024, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Canino, who is still nursing an arm injury, continued to sit out for the Lady Spikers but is reportedly making huge progress and might be back when the UAAP playoffs kick-off.

Without their main gunner, DLSU once again struggled to maintain their pace and execute their sets, allowing UE to force a deciding fifth set after they led 2-1.

The Lady Spikers were quick to make their questionable plays up during the start of the last set when they raced to a 7-2 advantage.

However, UE once again roared back and matched DLSU’s offense with their own back-row plays that helped them turn things around and inch closer.

When DLSU needed someone to step up and carry the load, former UAAP Best Middle Blocker Thea Gagate took matters into his own hands and sparked a momentum-clinching rally.

In the final four possessions of the fifth set, Gagate scored two important points and made a crucial block when UE attempted a quick 1-2 cross-court play.

Gagate’s heroics propelled DLSU to a much-needed win and capped off her huge performance with 22 points derived from 17 successful attacks, three blocks, and two service aces.

Backstopping Gagate was her other half of DLSU’s twin towers, Shevana Laput, who fired 21 points built from 19 successful attacks to go alongside three blocks.

On the other hand, UE’s dynamic duo of Khy Cepada and Casiey Dongallo gave their all to help their school pull off an upset win but their 43-point combined effort wasn’t enough to contain the UAAP defending champions.