UAAP Volleyball

Outsmarted, outhustled: Belen admits pressure doomed NU in semis shocker vs FEU

Philip Matel

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Outsmarted, outhustled: Belen admits pressure doomed NU in semis shocker vs FEU

LEADER. NU stalwart Bella Belen reacts during the Lady Bulldogs semifinal game against the FEU Lady Tamaraws.


NU star Bella Belen thinks the No. 1 Lady Bulldogs need to loosen up before they battle the gung-ho FEU Lady Tamaraws one more time in a do-or-die match for a title berth

MANILA, Philippines – Pressure got the better of the top-seeded NU Lady Bulldogs. 

And NU star Bella Belen wondered why even when it was the No. 4 FEU Lady Tamaraws who faced a do-or-die situation in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball semifinals. 

“For me, the game was a bit too tense for us, I felt like the pressure crept in,” said Belen in Filipino after NU shockingly lost in straight sets to FEU,  25-23, 25-17, 25-23, in the Final Four opener on Saturday, May 4. 

“I reminded my teammates during the second set not to be pressured, since FEU was the one that should be pressured since if they lose, it would be over for them,” the former MVP added.

“We weren’t able to loosen up, we weren’t able to enjoy the game, so that’s when the miscommunication and errors started happening.”

The Lady Bulldogs, who hold a twice-to-beat advantage as the No. 1 team, now have to fight the Lady Tamaraws again in a winner-take-all for a title berth on Wednesday, May 8. 

The usually potent NU offense, which propelled the team to the top of the elimination standings, was surprisingly not up to par.

NU committed 25 errors – equivalent to a whole set – as players also couldn’t deliver their usual scoring production. 

Belen was the lone double-digit scorer with 12 points, while Vange Alinsug and Alyssa Solomon got stifled to just 8 points apiece.

But Belen, the rookie MVP in Season 84, praised the Lady Tamaraws for their grit and determination.

“FEU showed off a great game, we were really outsmarted… I reminded my teammates not to be complacent,” said Belen.

“We need to return to our system, to keep ourselves hungry, and return to our goal. And we need to ingrain in our hearts and minds that the battle will not be easy,” she continued.

As the do-or-die game fires away at 4 pm on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, Belen believes the Lady Bulldogs can regain their fearsome form. 

“[Our confidence] did not waver. I know my teammates, I know our capabilities,” said Belen.

“I know our team is a fighter. Our resolve as a team will be tested and we should not blame each other. We just need to move forward and work.” –

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