MANILA, Philippines – Some of the pressure has been lifted. At least that’s how reigning MVP Bella Belen sees it after her NU Lady Bulldogs absorbed their first loss in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
NU, which held a 20-game win streak – including a perfect run last year on the way to the Season 84 crown – saw it all end at the hands of the UST Golden Tigresses in a five-set thriller, 25-23, 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 15-11, on Saturday, March 4.
“We already talked about it in the locker room that the pressure had been lessened, because we haven’t lost much since high school, and swept last season,” said Belen in Filipino.
“Pressure has lowered, so we have a chance to take a look at ourselves and see what needs to be improved with the team,” she added.
It was the second consecutive five-setter for the Lady Bulldogs, who fended off Adamson in their previous outing, before falling to UST.
Bella Belen reflects on her first loss in the collegiate level. #UAAPSeason85 | via @philipptionary pic.twitter.com/ruBid7qy6U— Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) March 4, 2023
NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan said the team’s attacks were not as efficient as last season’s, and should be a point of emphasis for their next games.
On the other hand, Belen congratulated UST – which they share a similar 2-1 record with – for rising to the occasion and refusing to fold despite losing their 2-0 set advantage.
“The game was nice and UST prepared, the hunger, according to coach, was evident and we saw that they wanted it more,” said Belen.
“It’s a wake-up call for us, because in our Adamson game, it was like we were tapped on the shoulder, but the UST loss delivered a kick to the gut,” the second-year player added.
“It’s not because we swept last season, all wins are going to be given to us on a platter.” – Rappler.com
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