MANILA, Philippines – The National University Lady Bulldogs spoiled the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses’ debut in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference with a thrilling 5-set win, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 24-26, 15-10, on Sunday, March 30 at the Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Bulldogs kept their slate clean at 2-0 in Group B, relying on the 17 points from 15 attacks of Carmin Aganon as well as on the 14 markers of Jaja Santiago.
After leading two sets to none over the Tigresses, NU gave up the next two sets, giving UST air of hope against the defending champions.
But NU halted UST’s momentum in the deciding fifth set and went on an early 3-0 run before eventually making a 7-2 wall for UST to climb. But the Tigresses, bannering guest players Rhea Dimaculangan and EJ Laure, couldn’t grab hold of the lead owing to a couple of service errors and some bad receptions down the stretch.
“Yun yung usual na nangyayari. Nakakuha kami ng two sets, nag-relax ng third set and gumanda naman laro ng UST,” explained NU head coach Ariel Dela Cruz. “We tried to finish it off ng fourth set pero nagdikitan.” (That’s what usually happens. We win two sets, we relax in the third set and UST started playing better. We tried to finish it off in the fourth set but it was close.)
Displaying the same resilience they showed in the third and fourth sets, UST managed to trim the deficit to 11-10 after denying Aganon’s attack. But a Dindin Santiago hit off the block stopped the Tigresses’ charge, 12-10.
Setter Ivy Perez brought the Lady Bulldogs to matchpoint on a service ace that grazed the top of the net before Aganon scored on a last hit to take the win.
According to Dela Cruz, the keys for them in the final set was blocking and making up for their reception errors. He also pointed out their poor reception all game long. True enough, NU had only 22 excellent digs while UST had 38.
Meanwhile, the opening frame was marred by service errors from both UAAP squads. But NU got the better of it with 33 points off UST’s errors while the Tigresses won 27.
By the second frame the all-UAAP NU squad flashed their dominating form, going on a 9-0 run to turn a 12-10 deficit to a 19-12 advantage before going on to win that set.
For UST it was inconsistencies throughout the game that hobbled them. Their energy dipped in and out and they fell to NU’s solid defense at the net.
This game also served as an indicator of things to come for the Tigresses as their guest player Laure, a product of the UST High School volleyball program, came out firing with 23 points on 22 kills.
Laure kept UST afloat for much of the game as NU’s defense had trouble adjusting to her power attacks.
Marivic Meneses and Pam Lastimosa added 16 and 14 points, respectively to UST’s losing cause.
NU: Aganon 17, Santiago J. 14, Urdas 11, Santiago D. 11, Pablo 11, Perez 9, Valdez 1.
UST: Laure 23, Meneses 16, Lastimosa 14, Tunay 12, Dimaculangan 4, Cortez 2, De Leon 2, Palec 2.
Set scores: 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 24-26, 15-10. – Rappler.com