NU bites Laoag in four sets
Mark Escarlote on May 28, 2016 07:04 PM
National University's Jaja Santiago penetrates the block of Laoag's Jovielyn Prado.
Jaja Santiago exploded with 21 points but it was Jasmin Nabor that stole the spotlight in National University’s 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21 debut win over the Laoag Power Smashers Saturday to open their campaign in the 13th V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
The converted Lady Bulldogs setter Nabor dished out 31 excellent sets on top of 10 points including four kill blocks with her last being the final nail in the coffin of the Power Smashers.
“Magandang simula. Sino ba namang hindi nagandahan doon?” NU coach Roger Gorayeb said of their victory while flashing a wide smile.
Six-foot-5 Santiago smashed 16 kills and had four kill blocks and a service ace to lead the Lady Bulldogs.
Filipino-Japanese Risa Sato finished with 12 points while Jorelle Singh and Aiko Urdas chipped in nine and eight points, respectively, for NU.
Gorayeb was particularly impressed with the way the incoming second year Nabor performed as a playmaker to replace Rica Diolan, who transferred to another school after NU failed to make it to the 78th UAAP Final Four.
“Si Jas matagal ng hindi nagsi-set yan e,” said Gorayeb of his ward, who in high school played as a setter but was converted to a utility in college. “Mas masaya lang siguro sila ngayon kaysa sa dati. Kinausap ko naman sila e. Nakakatuwa naman lao na si Jas kasi nadadala niya e tapos nandyan pa si Sato.”
NU lost some key players after the UAAP season with the graduation of Myla Pablo and Ivy Perez and the exodus of Diolan, libero Bia General and Maritess Pablo.
“Masaya ako kasi maganda ang umpisa naming sana magtulu'y tuloy kasi naaalala ko nu’ng parang noong first year ko sa Ateneo,” added Gorayeb, who molded the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles into title contenders back from 2009 to 2013.
Mylene Paat top scored for Laoag with 16 points while Adamson teammate Jessica Galanza had 14 points. Arellano University standout Jovielyn Prado had nine markers for the Power Smashers.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles