Defending champions National University Lady Bulldogs displayed their familiar deadly form with a new head coach manning the sidelines, overpowering the Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates, 25-17, 25-16, 25-21, in their first outing of the 2017 Women’s Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
With a full lineup at his disposal, NU’s new head coach Babes Castillo quickly got his first win in the PVL seniors level after a decorated career as a juniors mentor.
“Gusto ko ‘yung the way we worked together. I apprecieate the win, but hindi pa rin ‘yun ‘yung gusto namin. What’s good is there’s a working a system and some of the objectives we set before the game were mostly met,” said Castillo, who steered the Junior Lady Bulldogs to the last three UAAP Juniors titles.
Six-foot-five veteran hitter Jaja Santiago and Fil-Japanese middle blocker Risa Sato each tallied 11 points on an impeccable spiking clip.
The Lady Bulldogs led for most of the match, as Lyceum struggled to mount a consistent string of attacks. The Lady Pirated were behind by as many as eight points in each of the three sets, only coming close in the third set.
After sprinting to a 12-4 lead, the Lady Bulldogs allowed Lyceum to slowly crawl back and come within three points, 21-19. NU, however, had UAAP Juniors star Princess Robles, who caught fire and punctuated the match with three of her six total points for the match.
“We decided to bring Princess in at this point of our program because it would be great to have her with us at the start of this transition,” Castilo remarked about Robles ,who is no longer eligible for the UAAP Juniors and will make her seniors debut in Season 81.
Rovelyn Hongria led Lyceum with eight points while La Rainne Fabay added seven.
NU next take on the San Sebastian College Lady Stags (0-1) on September 11, while the Lady Pirates face NCAA rivals Jose Rizal University (0-1) on September 13.
NU (3) – Santiago 11, Sato 11, Singh 8, Nabor 6, Robles 6, Urdas 5, Doria 4, Paran 1, Valdez (L)
LPU (0) – Hongria 8, Fabay 7, Juanillo 5, Sindayen 5, Miralles 4, Genova 1, Rafael 1, Inton 0, Sevilla 0, Sarmiento (L)