UAAP Volleyball

Sparking joy: NU keeps mood light as title redemption bid heads to Final Four

JR Isaga

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Sparking joy: NU keeps mood light as title redemption bid heads to Final Four

ALL SMILES. The NU Lady Bulldogs react in the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Letting go of the pressure that hounded their failed title defense, the NU Lady Bulldogs are reviving their fun-loving ways to great effect in their UAAP Season 86 championship pursuit

MANILA, Philippines – As an old adage goes, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

That is the mantra the NU Lady Bulldogs are trying to embody now as their UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball title pursuit approaches must-win territory in the upcoming Final Four wars.

After falling short of defending their championship in Season 85, the mighty spikers of Sampaloc have learned to leave all pressures and worries in the backseat and just keep the mood light inside the court, no matter the opponent.

The result? NU now holds the top spot with one elimination round game left in its schedule, and on-court leader Alyssa Solomon couldn’t be prouder of her teammates’ stellar play as of late.

“I think our enjoyment every game is key because in the first round, we lacked in that area,” she said in Filipino after the Lady Bulldogs destroyed helpless Adamson, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18, on Saturday, April 20, for win No. 11.

“We also credit our maturity to still not relax in every game. We still need to go all out no matter who the opponent is,” added Solomon, who tied partner-in-crime Bella Belen with a game-high 14 points against the Lady Falcons.

Disarming is a word to best describe the Lady Bulldogs in their undefeated second-round stretch, as they clearly enjoy goofing away on the court and in postgame press conferences, and yet they still play elite volleyball with the star trio of Solomon, Vange Alinsug, and former MVP Belen.

Already battle-tested beyond their years both in local and international competitions, Solomon and Belen have not taken for granted the lessons they’ve learned in the past few years, and remain hungry for more winning runs in their third UAAP season.

“We’ve learned to stay mature, tune out the noise of big crowds, and remember to always communicate with one another,” Solomon continued. “Most importantly, we always need to enjoy every moment, because that is the big thing we need in order to achieve our goals here.”

“We need to keep our playing desire up and stay hungry near the end of the season,” Belen added in Filipino. “We shouldn’t fall to complacency and think we’re unbeatable. The eagerness to win should always be there.”

All smiles, all wins. These things characterized the Season 84 Lady Bulldogs who completed a stunning tournament sweep in 2022 to win the championship.

In Season 86, the wins are still there, and the smiles are back. If NU keeps this up, another title is certainly within arm’s reach. –

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