With their undefeated record on the line, the National University Lady Bulldogs showed their grit, rallying from a deep deficit in the fifth set to escape the Arellano University Lady Chiefs and barge into the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Finals, 25-17, 26-28, 17-25, 25-13, 20-18, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Bulldogs, after coming back in the fourth set to force a fifth frame, slipped in the endgame and allowed the Lady Chiefs to take a 14-10 lead.
From there, NU captain Jaja Santiago took charge and scored four straight points to extend the match.
“I like how Jaja has been leading the team. You can tell na she’s really been taking charge. What she did there, I think, shows that she’s really a champion,” pointed out NU head coach Babes Castillo.
The Lady Chiefs managed to salvage two more match points, but the Lady Bulldogs pulled clutch points from Jasmine Nabor to close the match.
Undefeated in seven matches, NU now enter the Finals for the third straight time, gunning for a rare three-peat.
“You have to give all the credit to the girls. They trusted the system and worked hard to keep their record going,” added Castillo.
Santiago finished with 28 points off 21 attacks and seven blocks. Setter Jasmine Nabor added 12 points and 47 excellent sets.
Jovielyn Prado towed the Lady Chiefs with 20 points, 16 digs, and 16 excellent receptions.
NU (3) – Santiago 28, Nabor 12, Doria 9, Sato 9, Robles 8, Singh 8, Urdas 1, Chavez 0, Valdez (L)
AU (2) – Prado 20, Ebuen 17, Arocha 11, Esguerra 5, Marzan 4, Liu 1, Ramirez 1, Balanoba 0, Bello 0, Donato 0, Flores (L)