National University star Jaja Santiago and setter Jasmine Nabor gathered their teammates before the start of the fifth set.
They will not leave the FilOil Flying V Centre without defeating the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles.
“Nag-usap-usap na lang po kami na kailangan hindi kami uuwi na talo,” said Nabor.
The Lady Bulldogs showed nerves of steel and composure down the stretch as NU reasserted its mastery over the Lady Eagles in a tightly contested 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 12-25, 15-7 victory in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Santiago showed the way for NU with 26 points while Nabor delivered at crunch time including the game-clinching three straight aces to seal the Lady Bulldogs’ second straight win in as many outings for a hold of the solo lead. Nabor had 11 points, seven coming off aces, on top of 29 excellent sets.
“Noong after ng fourth set ‘yun nga ni-remind kami ni coach na back to basic kami lahat,” said Santiago. “Ni-remind niya kami sa respect, whistle to whistle, communicate kasi kita rin naman natin noong third and fourth sets ‘yun talaga ang nawala sa amin, communication.”
“So noong fifth set binalik namin kung ano ‘yung ginawa namin noong first set at saka second set and ‘yung character namin na hindi kami papayag na makuha ng Ateneo ‘yung fifth set na ‘yun,” added Santiago, who pounded 20 attacks, four aces and a couple of aces.
NU broke a 4-4 deadlock in the fifth set with a 6-2 spurt to build a 10-6 lead. Jho Maraguinot stopped the bleeding with an attack before Kat Tolentino committed an attack error. Santiago hammered a kill to put the Lady Bulldogs on top 12-7 before Nabor nailed three aces to seal NU’s third straight win against Ateneo since last year.
“Kasi alam naman namin na kaya namin so may mga kulang lang talaga kaya nakuha sa amin ang third and fourth,” said Nabor. “Tapos noong fifth set talaga pinairal namin ang tamang pag-iisip sa loob ng court at teamwork talaga tapos yung focus.”
NU will play listless University of the East next on Sunday.
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