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Tiebreaker Times


Belen, NU believe title defense will be much tougher than UAAP 84

National University was untouchable during the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.

And that was not an exaggeration as the Lady Bulldogs swept their way to the championship – their first in 65 years.

But NU knows the road is gonna be a lot harder this Season 85 as COVID-19 restrictions ease up and all teams were able to prepare better this time.UAAP-84-VB-DLSU-vs.-NU-Mhicaela-Belen-7677-1 Belen, NU believe title defense will be much tougher than UAAP 84 News NU UAAP Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Sabi namin this season dapat talagang fit kami para mas ready kami kasi we know naman po na mas ready lahat ng teams ngayon kasi mas mahaba yung preparation ngayon so kailangan mas ready pa rin kami,” said Mhicaela Belen, Season 84’s Rookie MVP – the first and only player to achieve that feat in league history of the women’s tournament.

Before Season 84, the squads prepped up for the tournament in their own universities only via a bubble setup.

But the offseason after that, it was more like pre-pandemic as the teams were able to return to their normal routines in preparation for the biggest collegiate tilt.

Preseason tournaments like Sports Vision’s V-League Collegiate Challenge and Shakey’s Super League — which NU dominated as well — were met with a lot of enthusiasm from the competition-hungry schools.

The Lady Bulldogs also had a training camp in Japan back in December 2022.

Second-year NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan also expressed how this season would be different than their 16-0 performance – especially with all eyes on them and the pressure as high as ever.UAAP85-Coach-NU-Mr.-Ray-Karl-Dimaculangan-9551 Belen, NU believe title defense will be much tougher than UAAP 84 News NU UAAP Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Sinabihan ko naman iyong mga players, inexplain ko na rin sa kanila na kailangan maintindihan namin na hindi magiging madali and sabi nga ng lahat ng coaches na nagprepare din mabuti so kailangan hindi kami mag-settle for kung ano iyong na-achieve namin but for more pa kami,” said the champion mentor.

“Focus lang kami more on day by day and ineexpect namin itong season na ito na magiging mas mahirap but more exciting siya,” he added.

But the Lady Bulldogs’ focus, more than retaining the crown, is improving themselves in order to raise the level of competition even higher even after a flawless Season 84.

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And that mantra will be first put to test on Saturday when the tournament kicks off with NU facing Ateneo de Manila University at 2 pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“Ang mindset kasi ng team ay hindi kung paano idedefend (ang championship) pero kung paano kami magiimprove pa sa skills at gameplay na ginagawa namin,” Dimaculangan said.UAAP-Season-84-Womens-Volleyball-Finals-Game-2-NU-4-scaled Belen, NU believe title defense will be much tougher than UAAP 84 News NU UAAP Volleyball  - philippine sports news

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Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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