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NU Lady Bulldogs not just a team of rookies

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Tiebreaker Times NU Lady Bulldogs not just a team of rookies News NU UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 NU Women's Volleyball Norman Miguel Jennifer Nierva

The National University Lady Bulldogs were well aware of difficulty that the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament would present them before the season.

They lost Season 80 MVP Jaja Santiago to graduation along with setter Jasmine Nabor, who was unceremoniously asked to leave the program. Weeks before the tournament, veteran middle blocker Risa Sato was deemed academically ineligible to play. In their first match, they lost promising rookie setter Joyme Cagande to an ACL tear.

Left with 10 players – seven of whom are rookies – NU remained plucky, keeping up in matches against the league’s best, only to lack a finishing kick.

But the Lady Bulldogs have shown that they are still very dangerous. Down 10-14 in the fifth set against University of the Philippines, NU went on a 7-1 run to complete the biggest upset of the season, so far.

Tiebreaker Times NU Lady Bulldogs not just a team of rookies News NU UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 NU Women's Volleyball Norman Miguel Jennifer Nierva

“Importante rin kasi ‘yung hindi mo pwede i-discount na rookies lang sila,” said first-year head coach Norman Miguel of his team.

“Lagi kong sinasabi bago mag-start ng UAAP na may dumarating na mag-interview sa school, na regardless kung rookies sila, pero champion players ang mga ito doon sa UAAP high school, ilang championships iyan? four? So kahit rookie sila, ‘yung experience nila, ‘yung character nila naiitutulong talaga nila sa team.”

NU hves been propped up by their high-scoring rookies Princess Robles and Ivy Lacsina. Against UP, however, it was libero Jennifer Nierva who shone, providing 26 digs and 29 excellent receptions to bolster NU’s assault.

Nierva feels that this win – NU’s second in six outings – gives them a much-needed morale boost in an otherwise difficult season.

Tiebreaker Times NU Lady Bulldogs not just a team of rookies News NU UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 NU Women's Volleyball Norman Miguel Jennifer Nierva

“Siguro ‘yung pagkapanalo namin ngayon, kaya naming patunayan na ‘yung bawat isa, may trust talaga na gusto manalo. ‘Yung team na ito, kulang kami pero may gusto kami i-achieve na hindi namin sinasabi na ganito lang team namin kaya talo kami,” she declared.

“Hindi, ginawa namin siyang motivation.”

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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