Lady Bulldogs storm past Lady Stags behind Santiago's 27
Mark Escarlote on Aug 03, 2016 08:58 PM
National University middle Jaja Santiago pounded 20 spikes in her 27-point explosion against San Sebastian College.
Jaja Santiago was unstoppable with her towering presence hitting precision attacks as the defending champion National University overpowered the San Sebastian Lady Stags, 25-22, 29-27, 25-21, Wednesday night to open their title retention bid in the 13th V-League Collegiate Conference at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The 6-foot-5 Santiago scored a game-high 27 points built on an impressive 20-of-30 attacking clip with four kill blocks and three aces for the Lady Bullogs, who climbed on top of Group A with Technological Institute of the Philippines while sending the Lady Stags to a 1-1 win-loss card.
Audrey Paran added eight points while Sweet Urdas got seven markers for NU, which showed fluid offense brought by setter Jasmin Nabor’s 50 excellent sets.
The Lady Bulldogs played confident in the opening set but needed to pull a few tricks in the second set to stave off the rampaging Lady Stags led by Open Conference MVP Grethcel Sotones. NU squandered a 12-6 lead in the third frame as SSC-R tied the frame at 20-all.
But the Lady Bulldogs raced to match point in a four-point barrage before NU committed an attack error. Santiago called it a day with an above the blockers kill to finish the match.
Assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad said that the it was a hard-fought game despite the straight sets result.
“Siyempre di rin naman kami pwedeng magkompiyansa eh. Alam naman natin na ang Baste champion team din yan, experienced team din ‘yan kaya di kami pwedeng mag-relax talaga,” said Mabbayad.
NCAA back-to-back MVP Soltones, Katherine Villegas and Denice Lim scored 12 points each for SSC-R.
NU targeted Soltones, who had 12 excellent receptions, on their attacks and services to slowdown her offense.
“Hindi masyadong nakaatake rin si Grethc talaga dahil siya rin ang nagre-receive kaya nahirapan din siya,” said Mabbayad of the explosive Lady Stag that carried SSC-R past Perpetual Help in straight sets with 20 points in their opening day assignment last Saturday.
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