With Ateneo two set points shy of taking a one-set lead in the third chapter, the Lady Eagles looked like they had La Salle on the ropes again.
But an unsung hero in rookie Mika Reyes stepped into the fray for the Lady Archers and turned the whole UAAP women’s volleyball championship series around.
The Lady Archers stole Game Two with a come-from-behind third set victory to defeat the Lady Eagles, 23-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-18, Saturday at the packed Fil Oil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Instead of the Lady Eagles, it’s the Lady Archers who moved one win shy of another UAAP crown in women’s volleyball, which they can claim on Wednesday.
Reyes tallied three straight points after the Lady Archers trailed, 24-22, and La Salle captain Cha Cruz sealed the third set with a hit of her own.
That was the game changer for La Salle, which grabbed an early 10-5 lead in the fourth set to pull the victory out and bounce back in the championship showdown after its Game One defeat.
“Pinakita nila ‘yung attitude na wala noong Game One,” said La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus. “Maayos ngayon ang setting at blocking namin ngayong Game Two.”
Michelle Gumabao, the league’s Best Blocker awardee, was back to her usual ways, chalking up five blocks to lead the Lady Archers in points with 18. Cha Cruz and Rookie of the Year and Best Server Ara Galang had 12 points. Season Most Valuable Player Abigail Marano came up with only seven points in Game Two.
In the third set, Ateneo captain Fille Cainglet scored on a cross court shot, 24-22, to move her team a point away from claiming not only the set but the momentum.
But Reyes, who finished the match with 11 points, kept the Lady Archers alive, nailing a kill and a service ace to extend the set. Ateneo struggled to keep the ball in play on another Reyes serve for an ace before Cruz took her well-placed shot to take the lead.
First-year player Alyssa Valdez had a game-high 23 points for the Lady Eagles and was in the forefront in the third set before the Lady Archers made a turnaround.
Cainglet had 13 while Dzi Gervacio had 10 hits for Ateneo.
Other individual award-winners named before Game Two were Far Eastern University’s Gyzelle Sy (Best Setter), FEU’s Christine Agno (Best Digger), University of Santo Tomas’ Maika Ortiz (Best Spiker) and FEU’s Rosemarie Vargas (Best Scorer).