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MANILA, Philippines – The NU Lady Bulldogs closed in on gaining a twice-to-beat semifinal advantage in their UAAP women’s volleyball title defense after downing fellow contender UST Golden Tigresses in four sets, 25-16, 25-21, 17-25, 25-14, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre on Wednesday, April 26.
With the win, the defending champions rose to a 10-3 record off their fifth straight win with one final assignment against Ateneo on Saturday, April 29, 11 am.
UST, meanwhile, no longer has any say over its twice-to-beat fate as it slid to a 9-4 tie with Adamson after snapping a four-game winning streak.
League-leading La Salle (12-1) already claimed the first Final Four advantage, leaving the three other semifinalists to fight for the last bonus.
Alyssa Solomon led the balanced attack with 17 points, while reigning MVP Bella Belen scored 16 off 13 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace. Vange Alinsug added 10 points as Jen Nierva churned out 16 excellent receptions and 10 excellent digs.
Likely steaming after missing out on a sweep win and going down as many as 10 points in the third set, the Lady Bulldogs came out guns blazing in the fourth, pumping out a 5-0 start off a booming Alinsug backrow kill.
Although UST fought back within two, 9-11, after a 7-2 response hiked by three straight Imee Hernandez blocks, that was the last gasp the Golden Tigresses would have as the Lady Bulldogs put the game away with a pivotal 7-0 charge, ending with a Lams Lamina ace to double the gap at 18-9.
UST only got as near as 5, 14-19, before NU cruised to the finish line with a final 6-0 surge, ending with one last Belen kill for the win.
“We’re very happy that we brought what we trained for this game, and we’re very happy that we’re one game away from the twice-to-beat,” Belen said in Filipino. “One game at a time and we’ll get there.”
MVP candidate Eya Laure snapped a white-hot three-game run of scoring 27 points or more and settled for just 17 points – still a game-high – off 15 attacks and 2 blocks, while running mate Imee Hernandez tallied a game-best 5 rejections to spike her 14-point tally.
UST wraps up its elimination round with a lopsided match against the reeling UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday, April 30, 3 pm. – Rappler.com