National University showed University of the Philippines the exit door as the Lady Bulldogs denied the Lady Maroons a semis seat with a 25-21, 26-24, 17-25, 23-25, 17-15 win on Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs swept the Lady Maroons in their head-to-head elims matchup – all in five sets – to improve to 4-9 win-loss slate and closed the Final Four race as they gave Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas the last two semis slates to join Ateneo de Manila University and defending three-time champion De La Salle University.
Rookie Princess Robles stepped up big time by saving a match point in the extended fifth set for a 15-15 tie. The Lady Maroons committed a setting error in the next play before Audrey Paran finished the match with a kill.
Robles scored 20 points highlighted by 18 attacks and added 17 digs and nine excellent receptions for the Lady Bulldogs, who posted 10 kill blocks and 11 aces. Paran had 15 markers, Roselyn Doria finished with 12 while setter Joni Chavez tallied 22 excellent sets to help NU connect with 47 attack points.
Rookies Gelina Luceno and Ivy Lacsina combined for 15 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who survived the grueling duel despite giving away 45 points off errors.
“Well, hindi madali ‘yung game although nakuha namin ‘yung first two sets. Akala namin madali pero hindi. Lalaban at lalaban ang UP,” said NU coach Norman Miguel. “Sa akin naman, with this result, masaya ako kasi may lumabas na character sa team namin. This season, angat baba kami. Ang usapan na lang namin i-protect ang character ng team namin at yung pinapakita namin this season.”
“Basta usapan namin itong last two games, kung manalo manalo, kung hindi best performance lang kami and sobrang happy,” he added.
The Lady Bulldogs broke an 8-8 tie in the fifth frame with three straight points before UP answered with its own rally to tie it at 11. NU again moved up, 13-11, but the Lady Maroons once again tied it at 13.
Robles put the Lady Bulldogs at match point on an off the block kill but an attack error by Paran and a Tots Carlos hit gave UP the match point advantage.
NU snatched a 2-0 match lead after clawing its way back from a 13-16 deficit. The Lady Bulldogs tied the frame at 22 before Roselyn Doria committed a service error. Robles knotted the count at 23 before Jessma Ramos put the Lady Maroons at set point off a running attack.
Robles forced a deuce off an off speed hit before Audrey Paran hammered a crosscourt hit to give NU the set point advantage.
Rookie Gelina Luceno closed the second frame with a drop on an unguarded spot to stun the Lady Maroons.
UP got its rhythm going in the third frame and pulled away early to dictate the tempo of the set.
The Lady Maroons survived a scary fourth set after NU cut a 24-20 deficit to 24-23 before Tots Carlos put it away with an off the block kill.
The Lady Bulldogs were able to control the game midway in the opening set as they exploited the Lady Maroons’ suspect reception and outsmarting the net defense of UP with attack variations.
UP bid goodbye to its Final Four hopes after sliding down to 6-7 slate as the Lady Maroons missed the semis for the third straight seasons.
Tots Carlos scored 18 points, all from attacks, while setter Ayel Estranero finished with 11 markers and 24 excellent sets for the Diliman-based squad. Isa Molde and Marian Buitre got nine markers each for UP, which threw away 40 points off miscues.
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