Lady Bulldogs silence Lady Chiefs in semis opener
National University inched closer to claiming a championship series berth.
National University turned back Arellano University, 25-17, 25-16, 25-23, Wednesday in Game 1 of the best-of-three inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference semifinals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The of Jaja Santiago, Risa Sato and Aiko Urdas delivered once again as the unbeaten Lady Bulldogs stretched their winnings streak to six straight while closing in on the best-of-three Finals ticket.
Santiago remained as an unstoppable force on offense, nailing 24 points off 18 kills, three aces and three kill blocks while adding seven excellent digs for NU, which pounded the Lady Chiefs with 45 attacks.
Sato added 11 markers while Urdas and Jorelle Singh chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively, for the Lady Bulldogs, which sputtered in the third with head coach Babes Castillo tweaking his lineup.
"'Yung consistency ng kanilang pagiging responsible sa galaw nila, sa pagbabasa nila, somehow ginagawa nila consistently itong mga skills na ito," said Castillo. "I call it primary skills kasi na very important that they bring up, na mabasa nila ang ginagawa ng kalaban at gumagalaw sila ng hindi bara-bara. Mindfull sila and yun ang very happy ako na nagagawa nila."
"And if you notice kanina, nag-shift ako during the third set. Pinlano namin yun. I want to see how they will respond doon sa uncomfortable zone nila," he added. "I'm happy that they tried organizing themselves. Hindi siya perfect but you can see ang effort nila to organize and connect with each other."
Arellano U gave NU a tough resistance in the third set after getting whipped in the first two frames, taking a 20-19 lead. The Lady Bulldogs countered with a Sato hit and an ace by setter Jasmine Nabor before the Lady Chiefs tied it at 21 off a quick kill by Andrea Marzan.
NU scored two straight, Singh sent her attack long in the next play before Arellano U's Necole Ebuen overshot her spike to push the Lady Bulldogs at match point, 24-22. Santiago came up short on attack to give the Lady Chiefs a free point before making ammends on her mistake with the match-clinching down the line spike.
NU can seal the series on Saturday. Game 3, if necessary, is on Monday.
Regine Arocha finished with eight points, Ebuen and Marzan scored six each while Jovielyn Prado was silenced to only four markers for Arellano U.
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