UAAP VOLLEYBALL: NU ends drought, secures at least a playoff for last semis seat
Mark Escarlote on Apr 08, 2018 03:36 PM
National University arrested a long losing drought and secured at least a playoff for the last Final Four berth.
National University snapped a five-game losing slump and knocked out two rivals in the race for the last semifinals seat with a sweep of the feisty University of the East side, 26-24, 26-24, 25-20, Sunday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Graduating player Jaja Santiago went on a rampage to save the freefalling Lady Bulldogs and give NU its seventh win in 13 games at solo fourth spot behind semifinalists two-time defending champion De La Salle University (9-2), Ateneo de Manila University (9-4) and Far Eastern University (8-4). The Lady Bulldogs secured at least a playoff for the last Final Four seat.
NU’s victory formally eliminated University of the Philippines (5-8) and University of Sto. Tomas (4-8) in the Final Four race.
The Lady Bulldogs must win against Far Eastern University on Sunday at the end of eliminations to avoid a dangerous playoff scenario in case Adamson University (5-7) sweeps its last two assignments.
Santiago finished with 22 points coming off 18 kills, three kill blocks and an ace while Risa Sato bounced back from a scoreless outing the last time out with 13 markers for the Lady Bulldogs. Roselyn Doria had nine markers while Jasmine Nabor had 41 excellent sest for NU.
“Siyempre, masaya ako na unti-unti, nakikita namin na bumabalik na 'yung teamwork ng team, and 'yung talagang laro ng bawat isa,” said Santiago. “Though may kulang pa, pero nakita ko talaga, ang ganda ng laro namin. Kung ano 'yung na-training namin kahapon, lumabas talaga.”
NU found itself in early trouble in the first set and went behind 22-24 after an off the block kill by Lady Warriors star Shaya Adorador before Santiago sparked the closing four-point swing to steal the frame.
The Lady Bulldogs saw its 24-20 lead erased by UE before Santiago again came to the rescue of NU with back-to-back hits. NU staved off the Lady Warriors' repeated comeback attempt in the third frame to claim the much-needed victory.
UE dropped to 2-10 slate and absorbed its fourth straight loss. The Lady Warriors will close the elims against the Lady Maroons on Saturday.
Mary Anne Mendrez scored 14 points while Adorador had 11 markers for the Recto-based squad.
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