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NU decimates Ateneo, forces Game Three

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With their entire roster playing at tilt, the National University Lady Bulldogs blew back the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles 25-22, 25-17, 25-17 in Game Two of the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conferences Finals, extending the series into a third match at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Diaplaying solid defense and focus throughout the match, NU outperformed their Loyola counterparts at every facet of the game. Ateneo never held a lead as the Lady Bulldogs countered all their attempts at rallying back. NU doled out more spikes (35-28), block kills (7-3), and service aces (11-3). Ateneo’s futility at controlling NU’s serves ultimately cost them the match.

“Sobrang ganda ng nilaro ng mga bata ngayon. Hindi naman mababa ‘yung laro ng Ateneo – pumped up lang talaga ‘yung mga bata ko ngayon,” said NU head coach, Roger Gorayeb. “Hindi ko masabi na may isang player lang ang gumawa ngayon o naging dahilan ng panalo namin, team sport ang volleyball. Kahit si Alyssa [Valdez] kailangan niya ‘yung teammates niya para gumawa siya. Wala akong masabi, ang ganda ng nilaro ng mga bata ko,” Gorayeb added.

Every Lady Bulldog did indeed contribute significantly: third year middle blocker, Jaja Santiago dished out a game-high 13 points, fresh from Vietnam Dindin Santiago-Manabat and graduating open hitter Myla Pablo each had 12 markers, while team captain Jorelle Singh fired off eight points. Named this conference’s best libero, Bia General was omnipresent in the backrow, notching nine digs and excellent receptions along with multiple unrecorded saved balls. Setter, Rubie De Leon tallied 28 excellent sets to Ateneo setter, Gizelle Tan’s 17.

For the second time this conference, MVP Alyssa Valdez failed to record double-digits in points, managing only nine, while Bea De Leon, Amy Ahomiro, Jhoana Maraguinot, and Kim Gequillana all had just six points.

When asked about the Game Three, Coach Gorayeb affirmed that it’s going to be all about the players. “‘Yung players na magdedecide niyan, hindi na kaming coaches. Sila na bahala kung paano sila maglalaro noon. Ang magagawa ko na lang is ihanda sila. Matagal ko na sila sinasanay na mag-isip para sa sarili nila sa loob ng court; na hindi ko na kailangan magbigay ng command bawat play. Kanina naipakita nila ‘yun. Sana next game mag-continue.”

Game Three will happen next Sunday, October 4 12:45 p.m. at the San Juan Arena.

The Scores

NU (3) – Santiago 13, Manabat 13, Pablo 12, Singh 8, De Leon 5, Urdas 3, General (L)

Ateneo (0) – Valdez 9, Ahomiro 6, De Leon 6, Gequillana 6, Maraguinot 6, Tan 1, Maddayag 0, De Jesus (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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