The National University Lady Bulldogs continue to flourish under new head coach Babes Castillo, scoring a huge win over UAAP rivals Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 25-21, 13-25, 25-19, 25-22, and clinching their seat in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Bulldogs also sent the Lady Eagles tumbling from semis contention, and marked their third straight win over Ateneo, dating back to last season’s Finals.
An accomplished junior’s coach with the NU Lady Bullpups, Castillo was thankful that his players have trusted his system.
“There was still a tug-of-war sa loob kanina. It was like they were battling if they would go back to their old way or stick with the system. But, in the end, you could see that they trusted the system and stuck to it. That was what I was looking for,” said Castillo.
The mental battle was evident in the fourth set, as NU watched their 11-4 lead dwindle and evaporate into an 18-20 Ateneo lead.
From there, National U picked up their attack.
Jaja Santiago sparked NU’s finishing push, punching in attack that put the Lady Bulldogs ahead, 23-21. Aiko Urdas then slammed a hit for set point, which Risa Sato followed with a block on Maraguinot end the match.
Jorelle Singh topped the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points, while Jaja Santiago added 12 to lead four NU players in double-digits.
Open hitter Jhoana Maraguinot led the Lady Eagles with 14 points while Kat Tolentino managed 12.
National U await the results of Monday’s matches to determine who they face between the Adamson University and Arellano University in the crossover, best-of-three semifinals. Ateneo, who had faced NU in the past two PVL Finals, will hope that the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws fall prey to the Lyceum Lady Pirates on Monday to force a do-or-die game.
NU (3) – Singh 17, Santiago 12, Sato 11, Paran 10, Urdas 8, Nabor 5, Robles 0, Valdez (L)
ADMU (0) – Maraguinot 14, Tolentino 12, De Leon 10, Samonte 9, Wong 6, Gaston 2, Madayag 1, Eleazar (L)