Young NU squad upsets UP in five-set stunner


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The young National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs pulled off an incredible comeback to stun the favored University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons.

Surviving multiple match points, the gritty Lady Bulldogs stole the match from the Lady Maroons in a five-set thriller, 25-17, 14-25, 17-25, 25-23-17-15, in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday, March 13, at the Filoil Flying V Centre. 

The huge upset gave the Lady Bulldogs just their second win in 6 outings, while sending the Lady Maroons – who were the first to defeat defending champion La Salle this season – to their second straight loss for a 3-3 card.

Princess Robles led NU with 17 points off 10 attacks and 7 aces followed by Ivy Lacsina 16 points off 12 spikes and 4 blocks.

Jennifer Nierva covered the floor with 26 excellent digs and 29 excellent receptions. 

NU head coach Norman Miguel said he just wanted his team to enjoy the game.

Sa amin naman, every match, lagi ko po iniinstill sa kanila ’yung principle lang ng enjoy the game, ’yung nothing to lose, ’yung enjoy pero hindi ma-compromise ’yung focus, and always mag-smile,” said Miguel.

(Every match for us, I always instill in them the principle of enjoying the game, there’s nothing to lose, to enjoy but don’t compromise the focus, and always smile.)

UP captain Tots Carlos and Justine Dorog tallied 15 points apiece in the losing effort.

NU gave UP an early scare as the Lady Bulldogs opened strong and stunned the Lady Maroons with a massive 11-1 start. NU held on to its huge lead to take the opening frame, 25-17. 

However, the Lady Maroons managed to regroup in the next frame  to level the match, 1-1, as errors also doomed NU. 

UP continued to ride on the momentum as they raced to an 11-point lead, 21-10, in the 3rd set.

But the Lady Bulldogs pulled off a 6-0 run that closed the gap to 5 points. Carlos sparked UP's offense with back-to-back points that put UP at a 2-1 match advantage.

Birthday girl Dorog lifted UP to escape the deadlock, 21-18. But NU again countered with Princess Robles proving lethal from the service line as she scored two aces that helped the Lady Bulldogs wrest the lead. 

The Lady Maroons tried to extend the set, but Isa Molde and Jessma Ramos’ errors brought the match to a decider.

The 5th set turned out to be another nail-biter as the Lady Maroons pulled away with 3 straight points, 14-10. But they struggled in closing out the game despite reaching match point as NU tied the match at 14.

NU eventually won the joust as Ivy Lacsina nabbed match point, 16-15, and Gelina Luceño came up with a block on Carlos. –

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.