MANILA – Angel Canino came up clutch as De La Salle-Zobel Junior Spikers cruised to a 25-23, 28-26, 13-25, 19-25, 15-13 win over National University Lady Bullpups in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 girls volleyball finals at the San Juan Arena.
The Bacolod City native drilled game-high 18 points, all coming from attack zone, on Wednesday afternoon to push the Junior Spikers closer to its 10th UAAP girls volleyball title and first since Season 75.
Transferee Alleiah Malaluan had double-double 16 points and 14 digs for the Junior Spikers, which can complete its upset ax on the Lady Bullpups on Sunday.
“Iko-commend ko lahat ng mga bata. Lahat ng sakripisyo nila, ‘yung pagtitiis nila para maka-cope sa mga studies nila, ‘yun ang foundation na pinaghuhugutan namin para makarating rito at makuha namin ang Game 1,” said head coach Cristina Salak.
After failing to close out the Lady Bullpups in the third and fourth set, the Junior Spikers banked on three straight points by Canino for a 5-all score. From a seesaw score, the DLS-Z notched an 11-9 lead on an attack by Malaluan.
The Lady Bullpups got the lead back at 12-11 after a conversion from Mhicaela Belen but the Junior Spikers forced a 13-all score before finishing it with an off-the-block hit by Canino.
“Siguro po hard work pa para pagdating sa Game 2 marami na kaming maiiwasang errors,” said Canino, who previously played for Bacolod Tay Tung High School before transferring to Junior Spikers.
Evangeline Alinsug and Sheena Toring scored 16 points each, while star Faith Nisperos was held to just 13 points, 11 on attacks, for the four-time defending champions Lady Bullpups./PN