NU Lady Bulldogs bounce back in 4-set victory against UE
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - After falling to defending champions La Salle a week ago, the National University Lady Bulldogs have now risen to a 6-4 win-loss record following a hard-earned victory against the University of the East, 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, on Sunday, March 19 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
After succumbing to a 15-25 opening set beating, the Lady Warriors hopped on a strong start in the second, leading 18-11 after the second technical timeout. The Lady Bulldogs, however, rattled off 8 unanswered points as Aiko Urdas pitched in consecutive aces to shift both the lead and momentum back on their side.
Down 0-2, Coach Francis Vicente's squad refused to give the match away easily as they continued to work for a 23-17 cushion late in the third. The Lady Warriors were successful in holding off their rival's impending comeback this time around as they took a 25-22 Set 3 victory.
The two squads once again went toe-to-toe in the 4th, with the Lady Bulldogs only pulling away at the 20th mark to eventually win the match.
"Basta nanalo, okay na 'yan," said NU head coach Roger Gorayeb after reflecting on his squad's reception errors and third set loss.
As he looks forward to the few remaining elimination games, Gorayeb knows the Lady Bulldogs have a tough road ahead as they contend with at least three other teams for a semifinals seat.
"Bakbakan na kami dyan, kasi mahirap na 'yung 1 and 2. Madaling isipin pero mahirap mangyari."
(At least we had this win. We're gonna battle it out [for the 3rd and 4th], because 1 and 2 looks unlikely. It's easy to think about, but unlikely to happen.)
Despite the errors, the Lady Bulldogs outscored their rivals 52-31 in the spikes department, and also limited one of the best blocking teams this season to only a single block throughout the match.
NU skipper Jaja Santiago had a game-high 23 points on 20 attacks and 3 blocks. She got ample support from Jorelle Singh, who added 17 on 15 attacks and 2 aces, as well as Risa Sato who had 10.
Shaya Adorador meanwhile anchored the Lady Warriors with 16 points on 12 attacks and 4 aces, while Judith Abil contributed 10.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs are now tied with University of Santo Tomas at the third seed, while the Lady Warriors settle for a 1-9 slate.
NU will next face the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Wednesday, March 22.
NU (3): Santiago 23, Singh 17, Sato 10, Urdas 8, Nabor 8, Doromal 3, Paran 1
UE (1): Adorador 16, Abil 10, Baliton 5, Mendrez 4, Rodriguez 3, Alcayde 2, Catindig 2, Gabarda 2, Bendong 1.