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National U outmuscle Adamson for first win

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With their chemistry questioned in their opening match, the National University Lady Bulldogs pulled together just in time to overwhelm the Adamson University Lady Falcons 17-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 for their first win in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the PhilSports Arena, earlier Saturday evening.

NU head coach Roger Gorayeb rued the inconsistent play of his setters in their loss to the Ateneo Lady Eagles. In the first set, NU could not execute Gorayeb’s mandate of constantly feeding Jaja Santiago. Adamson easily soared to an early lead, 9-3, and proceeded to keep bombarding the Lady Bulldogs to submission.

Needing to catch up again, NU’s reception and playmaking improved in the following sets. Rookie setter Rica Diolan distributed NU’s attacks splendidly, making sure that they had a steady stream of Santiago attacks with stabs from the wing hitters sprinkled in.

NU popped to huge early leads in the last three sets and halted any AdU attempt at climbing back. The Lady Bulldogs led by as much eight, 16-8, in the second set and nine in the third set, 17-8. The Lady Falcons managed to get as close as four in each instance through Jemma Galanza’s attacking, but NU adjusted and handily won the set.

The Lady Bulldogs seemed primed to blow the Lady Falcons away in the fourth frame, leading 8-2. Adamson, however, had one more comeback in them. With NU momentarily surrendering errors, Adamson got as close as two points, 12-14. But the Lady Falcons could not sustain the run and allowed NU to rebuild their lead, 18-12, and cruise to the win.

The 6’5″ middle blocker Jaja Santiago led all scorers with 20 points on 18 attacks, a block, and an ace. Open hitter Myla Pablo and Jorelle Singh had 13 and 11 points respectively.

“Advantage namin sa lahat ng team si Jaja. 6’5” yan, wala naman makakaabot sa kanya. Kaya sabi ko sa team, kailangan natin siya ma-maximize para mas dumali ‘yung buhay nating lahat. Salamat at nagawa naman namin,” Gorayeb said after the match.

Galanza towed the Lady Falcons with 17 points. Open hitter May Roque tallied 12 points, while team captain Mylene Paat and second year middle blocker Joy Dacoron had 11 points apiece.

National University (1-1) next take on the DLSU Lady Spikers (2-0) on Wednesday, 2 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena. Adamson (1-1) also have DLSU on Saturday, 4 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores
NU (3) – Santiago 20, Pablo 13, Singh 11, Urdas 5, Diolan 2, Doria 2, Perez 0, General (L), Valdez (L)
AdU (1) – Galanza 17, Roque 12, Dacoron 11, Paat 11, Emnas 5, Alkuino 3, Flora 2, Momo 0, Joaquin 0, Mohammad 0, Tempiatura (L), Lebumfacil (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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