After suffering their first loss of the season, the National University Lady Bulldogs recovered with an uplifting win to start their 2016 Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference quarterfinal campaign, sweeping the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses, 25-21, 29-27, 25-13, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Tigresses controlled the first half of the opening frame, taking a 15-9 lead. But NU found their bearings and retaliated through Risa Sato’s stellar serving. The Lady Bulldogs rushed ahead 17-15 and never looked back. Jorelle Singh capped the set, pounding three straight attacks that placer NU comfortably at set point 24-17.
The second set was the Lady Bulldogs’ turn to squander an even bigger lead. After blitzing UST and earning a 21-12 cushion, NU assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad fielded most of his bench players, sparking a UST comeback. The Tigresses tied the set at 21 thanks to timely hits from Ria Meneses and Carla Sandoval’s serving. Jaja Santiago punctuated consecutive plays to give NU a 23-21 advantage but UST managed to force a deuce after NU gave up errors down the stretch. UST had two set point opportunities but NU eventually came away with the 2-0 lead thanks to Jaja Santiago’s attacking.
NU quickly took control of the third set, amassing a 21-9 lead and putting the match out of reach.
The 6’6” Santiago towed the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points. Jorelle Singh added 14, while Aiko Urdas tallied 11.
“‘Yun talaga ang problema sa mga player namin, nagre-relax kapag nakalamang,” said Mabbayad. “Pero, overall, masaya naman ako sa pinakita nila. Marami pa ring kailangan ma-improve sa ensayo.”
UST guest player and Junior Tigress standout Ejiya Laure led her team with 15 points, while veteran middle hitter Ria Meneses added eight. The Tigresses were without starting open hitters Ej Laure and Cherry Rondina, who are both playing for Foton in an invitational tourney in Thailand.
The Tigresses will start the QFs with a 0-3 record. NU’s seeding still depends on who wins the Ateneo-TIP playoff match.
NU (3) – Santiago 15, Singh 14, Urdas 11, Sato 7, Nabor 3, Doria 1, Doromal 1, Paran 0, Chavez (L), Valdez (L)
UST (0) – Laure 15, Meneses 8, Sandoval 5, Mangulabnan 2, Pacres 2, Bicar 1, Francisco 1, Gutierrez 1, Dizob 0, Tayag 0, Palec 0, Rasmo (L)