MANILA — National University managed to avenge its first-round loss to the University of Santo Tomas via a 25-16, 25-21,17-25, 25-14 win, allowing the Lady Bulldogs to close in on the second twice-to-beat incentive in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament before a jampacked crowd at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan on Wednesday.
It was the fifth straight win for the Lady Bulldogs who wrested the second spot all by themselves flashing a 10-3 win-loss slate while relegating in the process the Golden Tigresses down into a tie for third with Adamson University at 9-4.
Equally determined to win the game at all costs, UST bounced back from 9-2 down in the fourth set behind the splendid plays of Imee Hernandez and Eya Laure and the Tigresses trimmed the gap to within 11-9.
But the Lady Bulldogs came equally prepared and NU simply floored the pedal to the metal courtesy of Cess Robles who unloaded with three successive hits even as Camilla Lamina made two service aces, and Alyssa Solomon connected twice for seven unanswered points, putting the game away for good, 18-9.
“We’re very happy po na kung ano yung napagtraining-an namin at napagplanuhan namin ay nadala namin ngayong game,” said reigning season MVP Mhicaela Belen.
Belen also lived up to her billing.
She unleashed 16 points on 13 spikes and three blocks to go with 12 excellent receptions.
“We’re happy na isang game na lang makukuha na namin yung twice-to-beat (incentive). One game at a time and we’ll get there,” Belen added.
“Dapat pagdating ng fourth set yung mindset namin ay huwag kaming magpapatalo kasi laman na po kami ng dalawang set eh so ano ba naman po yung konting push na lang para matapos na yung game.”
“Sabi lang namin kailangan namin sila maunahan kasi once na naunahan po kami nahihirapan po kaming humabol lalo na po maerror po kaming team,” Belen stressed.
NU was down 12-16 in the second set when Vange Alinsug and Solomon connived to push their team ahead, 18-16.
It was at this juncture that Belen, Alinsug, and Erin Pangilinan connived and put the finishing touches and they moved to complete a sweep.
But UST will not just roll over and surrender instead, the Tigresses erected a 17-7 lead to force a fourth frame, 25-17.
Solomon shone brightest for the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points, while Alinsug and Sheena Toring contributed 10 and nine points, respectively.
Meanwhile, NU liberos Jen Nierva and Shaira Jardio did well in their respective fields, with the former making 16-of-22 receptions and 10-of-14 digs, while the latter tallied 15-of-26 digs.
Laure took the scoring mantle for the Golden Tigresses with 17 points but was limited to 15-of-43 attacks, while Hernandez uncorked 14 points, including five of the team’s 13 blocks.
NU will close its elimination round against the Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday, while UST faces the University of the Philippines on Sunday.