Pulling 24 points from volleyball juggernaut Jaja Santiago, the National University Lady Bulldogs dominated the Arellano University Lady Chiefs, 25-17, 25-16, 25-23, and are one win away from their third straight Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Finals appearance at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Santiago compiled her 24 markers on 18 attacks, three blocks, and three aces. Fil-Japnese middle blocker Risa Sato addee 11 points.
The Lady Bulldogs cruised in the first two sets, quickly grabbing double-digit leads. The two-time champs had another blowout in hand in the third set, leading 15-11 before the Lady Chiefs settled into their comeback. The set boiled down to long rallies, allowing Arellano to force a 21-all tie.
From there, Santiago dominated. The six-foot-five National Team stalwart powered in three of NU’s last four points to seal the victory and keeping her squad undefeated for the conference.
“I think everyone’s getting to know their responsibilities better and taking ownership,” said NU’s new head coach Babes Castillo. “I always tell my players that we need to keep innovating and being creative. I think we’re doing better now and we’re just focusing on improvement.”
Regine Arocha led the Lady Chiefs with eight markers while Necole Ebuen and Andrea Marzan added six apiece.
The Lady Bulldogs can seal their Finals trip on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
NU (3) – Santiago 24, Sato 11, Urdas 8, Singh 7, Nabor 5, Paran 5, Doria 1, Valdez (L)
AU (0) – Arocha 8, Ebuen 6, Marzan 6, Esguerra 5, Prado 4, Ramirez 3, Balanoba 0, Verutiao 0, Flores (L)
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