Rookie Angel Canino stars as La Salle knocks off Ateneo for semis berth in Super League

La Salle rookie Angel Canino (12). SSL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Rookie Angel Canino shone in her first Ateneo-La Salle showdown, firing 19 points to lead the Lady Spikers past the Blue Eagles, 25-17, 25-23, 25-10, and into the semifinals of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship on Sunday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Canino was unfazed as she nailed the big blows in each set, drilling 16 of her 27 attack attempts to help La Salle dispatch Ateneo in one hour and 28 minutes.

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Thea Gagate also stood tall for La Salle, scoring seven of her 12 points in their lopsided third set, including four blocks as the Lady Spikers forged a knockout semifinal duel against second-round tormentor Adamson on Friday.

“I just reminded them after our loss to Adamson last night to play with pride. Since it’s Ateneo-La Salle, I told them to play with pride and heart,” said La Salle coach Noel Orcullo, filling in for head coach Ramil De Jesus. “Just enjoy the game and don’t be tight inside the court.”

The Lady Spikers needed to fight back from a 20-22 deficit in the second set before Gagate and Canino sparked the rally.

The pair also anchored the third-set demolition with Canino scoring the last two points as La Salle bounced back after suffering its first loss at the hands of Adamson on Saturday.

“We just believed in ourselves that we can beat them and showed what we can do. We wanted to bounce back from our loss last night,” said Gagate in Filipino.

Besides its stellar offense and towering net defense, La Salle took advantage of Ateneo’s poor receiving as it fired 18 aces with setter Mars Alba nailing six, while Leila Cruz got four to finish with nine points.