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NU overwhelms Ateneo, clinches SVL title

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Playing a near perfect all-around effort, the National University (NU) Lady Bulldog earned the 12th Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference title, demolishing the heavily-favored Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles in the deciding game of their finals series, 25-21, 26-24, 25-19 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Rattled by a predominantly Ateneo crowd, NU took a while took things going in the first set, eventually turning a 6-8 deficit into a 16-14 lead in the second technical timeout. From there, NU’s setter and guest player, Rubie De Leon magnificently distributed her sets then relied on Jorelle Singh to finish the opening set comfortably. Errors and bad receptions hampered Ateneo’s adavance in the following set. Myla Pablo’s heroics pulled NU to a 21-17 lead but later the Lady Bulldogs relinquished the lead, failing momentarily to put an attack together. Off Bea De Leon’s serving and attacking, Ateneo took the lead, 24-23 forcing an NU timeout. Guest player, Dindin Manabat prolonged the set, scoring off a running hit then a block to give NU the advantage, 25-24. Ateneo then called for time but the ensuing resulted in a Jhoana Maraguinot attack error.

Down two sets to love, Ateneo sluggishly started the third set, opening the door for the Lady Bulldogs the build a 9-2 lead and never look back. Ateneo managed to tie the set, 10-all with Alyssa Valdez scoring four consecutive points off an attack and three aces. But Ateneo’s errors and uncharacteristically poor floor defense gave NU enough of a boost to convincingly take the match and the title.

Topping the match with 15 points, Myla Pablo earned the Finals MVP trophy. Manabat followed closely with 11 points while Jaja Santiago and Jorelle Singh both contributed 10 markers. The conference’s best libero, Bia General notched five digs, six excellent receptions and tons of The Lady Bulldogs doled out 42 attacks while Ateneo managed only 27 – a direct result of their futile service reception.

“Sobrang ganda ng nilaro ng mga bata. Wala akong masabi. Kahit ako nagulat sa ganda ng nilaro nila. Pero hindi ako nagulat na nag-champion kami. Matagal ko nang sinasabi sa kanila na kayang kaya namin talunin ‘yung Ateneo. Kailangan lang natin nag confidence,” said NU head coach, Roger Gorayeb who earned his second title of the season after a title run with PLDT last conference.

Conference MVP, Alyssa nabbed 14 points while the conference’s second best middle blocker, Bea De Leon had 10 markers. Libero, Ella De Jesus played her final game for the Lady Eagles as a collegiate player. She was a part of Ateneo’s back-to-back title runs as the starting open hitter.

This is NU’s second V-League title, winning their first in Season 10 where they faced Ateneo which was then coached by Roger Gorayeb.

The Scores

NU (3) – Pablo 15, Manabat 11, Santiago 10, Singh 10, De Leon 3, Urdas 1, Nabor 0, General (L)

Ateneo (0) – Valdez 14, De Leon 10, Ahomiro 9, Maraguinot 6, Gequillana 2, Maddayag 2, Tan 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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