La Salle, Benilde shoot for title sweeps

La Salle continues to be one big puzzle University of Santo Tomas (UST) can’t find a way of solving after the Green Spikers extended their mastery of the Golden Spikers to take the lead in the men’s V-League Collegiate Challenge championship series.

Being the only team to deal UST an elimination round loss, La Salle on Wednesday pulled out a 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-8 Game 1 win on Wednesday in front of loud, full crowd at Paco Arena that moved the Green Spikers within a win of a sweep.

But the pressure to continue performing well is now on the Green Spikers, and acting La Salle coach Jose Roque continues to be wary of the capacity of Santo Tomas to bounce back, considering how close their last win was.

“Game 2? I don’t know. We need to double the effort we gave today. That’s it,” Roque told the Inquirer after the series-opening win. But since we won (Game 1), the morale will surely be high (for the next game).”

The potential championship-clinching match is slated Friday at 4 p.m. after College of St. Benilde also shoots for a sweep of the women’s division against Far Eastern at 2 p.m.

Title and respect

Benilde carved out an authoritative 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 conquest of the Lady Tamaraws also Wednesday. That was just the second loss for Far Eastern in the tournament.

“It’s hard to answer your question. I can confidently say ‘we’ll get this (championship), we will not prolong the series anymore,’ but there is still pressure,” Roque went on when asked about the team’s Game 2 plans. “We’ll see. I’ll have a definite answer when game day comes.”

There’s another thing to winning here, as La Salle is itching to get the respect it deserves.

“This (Game 1 win) is a big deal because we have to redeem ourselves as a different La Salle. Very different from previous seasons. I want the team to realize that maybe this is finally our time,” Roque said on how their current run affects their goal of changing the way their opponents view the new Green Spikers.

“We have nowhere else to go but forward. No looking back. Whatever happens, [we] move forward. No way to go but up.”

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