Showing that youth is an advantage, the National University Lady Bulldogs clinched one of the biggest upsets of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, squeezing past the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 25-17, 14-25, 17-25, 25-13, 17-15, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
UP suffered their worst start of the season, struggling to pass and allowing NU to take the first set with an 11-1 start. Justine Dorog got the Lady Maroons back on track in the second frame, leading UP to a decisive 16-8 start. Then after another slow start in the third set, the Lady Maroons got help from NU’s errors, which elevated them to a 23-16 gap. The fourth frame was close, with NU gaining the late edge as UP gave away the last two points via errors.
Isa Molde then helped the Lady Maroons gain early control of the decider, scoring in UP’s 4-1 start. But Audrey Paran responded, guiding the Lady Bulldogs to a 5-all tie. Tots Carlos provided the offensive juice to give UP a 10-7 gap. Marist Layug then scored twice to keep UP ahead, 14-10, before NU made a 7-1 run to escape with the win.
The Lady Bulldogs clinched the upset in their first five-setter of the season. UP were previously unbeaten in two five-setters.
First-year NU head coach Norman Miguel lauded his team’s resiliency and attitude down the stretch.
“Lagi ko po ini-instill sa kanila ‘yung principle ng enjoy the game, ‘yung nothing to lose, ‘yung enjoy pero hindi ma-compromise ‘yung focus, and always mag-smile,” said Miguel.
“‘Yung mga technical skills ini-improve, pero ‘yung pinaka-importante sa amin ‘yung no pressure at all because alam namin noong pinasok namin ‘yung season na ito… Lahat ng struggles, so walang pressure lang sa game. ‘Di ko rin ma-explain ano nangyari sa game kanina. Tiniyaga lang, i-enjoy,” the former DLSU Green Spikers head coach added.
Robles topped NU’s balanced attack with 17 points, while Lacsina finished with 16.
Dorog and Carlos finished with 15 points, apiece for the Lady Maroons. UP’s reception struggle manifested in NU’s 15 aces.
UP (3-3) next take on the Adamson University Lady Falcons (1-5) on Sunday. On the other hand, NU (2-4) face the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles (5-1) on Saturday. Both matches will be played at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
NU (3) – Robles 17, Lacsina 16, Doria 12, Paran 12, Chavez 7, Luceno 3, Orillaneda 1, Landicho 0, Nierva (L)
UP (2) – Carlos 15, Dorog 15, Molde 13, Gannaban 9, Layug 9, Estrañero 1, Rosier 1, Buitre 0, Altomea (L), Bautista (L)