Letting a straight-set win slip away, the National University Lady Bulldogs recovered just in time to salvage a five-set triumph over the mis-receiving Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 12-25, 15-7, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Both squads took turns faltering on reception. The Lady Eagles stumbled in the first two sets, continuing their struggles from last Sunday on passing. Most notably, Ateneo surrendered a 15-9 lead in the second set and allowed the Lady Bulldogs to grab a decisive 22-17 advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs then had their turn with passing struggles in the third and fourth sets, slumping miserably in the fourth when they gave up a 19-9 lead.
National U, however, found their stride in the fifth set. Beginning with strong blocking, the Lady Bulldogs grabbed an 8-4 lead. NU then finished the Lady Eagles with aces from Jasmine Nabor, which capped a 5-0 run to wend the match.
The Lady Bulldogs’ new head coach Babes Castillo charged their struggles in the third and fourth set to old habits.
“It’s their old behavior. Nawalan ng receive and communication,” rued Castillo. “We just have to give a hundred percent, from whistle-to-whistle for us to win. We just needed to communicate better and respond better kasi ‘yun talaga ang nawala.”
Team captain and National Team stalwart Jaja Santiago towed the Lady Bulldogs with 26 points, while setter Jasmine Nabor tossed 29 excellent sets and pitched in 11 points, which included seven aces.
Jhoana Maraguinot topped the Lady Eagles with 16 markers, while her fellow open hitter Kat Tolentino. added 12 points. This is Ateneo worst start since Tai Bundit took over in Season 76.
Both squads struggled on receive, evident in their 27 shared aces.
Both squads see action on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bulldogs (2-0) take on the University of the East Lady Warriors (0-2), while Ateneo (0-2) face the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (1-1).
NU (3) – Santiago 26, Nabor 11, Sato 8, Doria 7, Paran 7, Singh 5, Urdas 3, Doromal 0, Chaves (L)
ADMU (2) – Maraguinot 16, Tolentino 12, Gaston 10, De Leon 7, Madayag 6, Samonte 3, Wong 3, Eleazar 0, Lo (L), Ravena (L)