Santiago drops 28 as NU clinches first Finals berth
Jaja Santiago powered National University into the Finals.
National University claimed the first championship berth but not after surviving a tough challenge from Arellano University, 25-17, 26-28, 17-25, 25-13, 20-18, to complete a sweep of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference best-of-three semifinals series on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Jaja Santiago led the Lady Bulldogs with 28 points coming off 21 kills and seven kill blocks while setter Jasmine Nabor registered 12 points on top of her 47 excellent sets. Risa Sato and Roselyn Doria scored nine markers each while Jorelle Singh and Princess Robles chipped in eight apiece for NU
Down 14-10 in the fifth set, the Lady Bulldogs mounted a dramatic comeback saving six match points before taking the last two points off a Nabor off the block kill and capped by an attack error Lady Chiefs skipper Jovielyn Prado.
“Nu’ng 14-10 sabi ko sa kanila whatever the result, itaas natin ang energy natin, doon tayo madya-judge eh, sa effort natin,” said NU coach Babes Castillo, whose squad swept the Lady Chiefs in the series opener last Wednesday. “So kumalma naman sila connecting together right away na parang, ‘oo nga pala ito ang role ko’. So I like how they responded.”
NU will await its best-of-three Finals opponent on Monday when Far Eastern University and Adamson University dispute the last championship seat.
The Finals will start on Wednesday.
Prado hammered a down the line hit to put the reigning NCAA champion Arellano at match point, 14-10, before NU countered with five straight points to take the helm, 15-14. The two squads went neck and neck in the next couple of plays.
The Lady Chiefs took their last lead 18-17 off a kill block of Andrea Marzan on Aiko Urdas. Sato equalized on a quick kill before the Lady Bulldogs sealed the two-hour, 10 minute duel.
Prado got 20 points, 18 coming off atacks, Regine Arocha and Marzan added 17 and 11 markers, respectively, for Arellano.
The Lady Chiefs will take on the loser between Adamson and FEU in the best-of-three battle for third.
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