Lady Bulldogs halt skid, fend off gritty Lady Maroons in five
Mark Escarlote on Mar 05, 2017 07:13 PM
National University arrested a three-game losing skid at the expense of the nosediving University of the Philippines.
National University flirted with disaster after squandering a two set lead and again in an early struggle in the fifth before weathering the gritty University of the Philippines, 25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 18-25,15-12, Sunday to end the first round of the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament eliminations and put a halt to its three-game losing skid.
Six-foot-5 Jaja Santiago, Jorelle Singh and Filipino-Japanese Risa Sato, who closed the match with an ace, teamed up to erase a 6-10 deficit in the deciding frame and get the Lady Bulldogs back in the win column. NU improved to 4-3 win-loss card in a tight four-way tie at third to sixth spots with their victim, Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas.
At the helm with a 6-4 lead in the fifth, NU had a dry spell as the Lady Maroons, who tried to rally back after losing starting libero Pia Gaiser in the opening frame because of a left knee injury, fought back with six unanswered points.
The Lady Bulldogs recovered behind Sato and Santiago to tie the game at 12. Sato connected on an ace in the next play before Santiago scored on a kill block.
UP called time but it was only a minor delay for NU’s victory with Sato nailing the game-winner from the service line.
“Maganda ng simula namin sa unang dalawang sets. Nag-drop lang pero noong nag-drop na nakikita ko naman na hindi nawala yung intensity nila,” said a relieved Lady Bulldogs coach Roger Gorayeb. “May mga ilang players lang na nawawala, naliligaw. Medyo naiinip at nagmamadali”
Santiago finished with 18 points from 14 kills, two kill blocks and a pair of aces while Singh had 15 markers for the Lady Bulldogs.
Sato registered 12 with half of her points coming from the service line.
It was a sorry loss for the Diliman-based squad, which not only lost its third straight after a 4-0 start but could also miss the services of Gaiser for some time pending the final evaluation on her injury.
Trailing, 2-4, in the first set, Gaiser’s knee buckled under her as she tried to cover Diana Carlos’ attack. She went down grimacing in pain and was stretchered out of the court.
Gaiser went out of their locker on a wheelchair with an immobilizer strapped on her left leg as she watched the match behind UP’s bench.
Marian Buitre had 20 points, Carlos and Nicole Tiamzon finished with 18 and 15, respectively. Isa Molde was limited to only seven points while Kathy Bersola played only in the opening set scoring only one.
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