Philippine volleyball

Still perfect: NU Lady Bulldogs complete second SSL title sweep

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Still perfect: NU Lady Bulldogs complete second SSL title sweep

WINNING WAYS. The NU Lady Bulldogs celebrate a play during Game 2 of the SSL finals against UST.


Bella Belen comes through the clutch as the NU Lady Bulldogs outlast the feisty UST Tigresses in the finals to complete another perfect run in the Shakey’s Super League preseason volleyball tournament

MANILA, Philippines – Bella Belen delivered when it mattered, just like in many games past.

Belen fired 7 of NU’s last 10 points as the Lady Bulldogs overcame another tough challenge from the UST Golden Tigresses, 25-17, 15-25, 25-20, 25-20, in Game 2 of the finals to cap a second straight title sweep in the Shakey’s Super League (SSL) Collegiate Pre-Season Championship Season 2 on Saturday, November 11, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 

Belen, the First Best Outside Hitter, pumped in 17 points – all on attacks – as the Lady Bulldogs completed a comeback in the fourth set against the Tigresses. 

Evangeline Alinsug added 15 points for NU, while Alyssa Solomon, the back-to-back SSL Season MVP and Best Opposite Spiker, dropped 14 points on 10 hits, 3 blocks, and an ace.

“The level of character of each one was there,” said NU coach Norman Miguel in Filipino. “They were champions since high school. They were champions in the UAAP women’s. That’s what carried them in the SSL – their character.”

Overall, NU dropped only two sets in an amazing 10-game run this season – a similar feat it had in yielding only two sets in an eight-game campaign in the inaugural tournament.

Best Setter Camilla Lamina also quarterbacked the steady NU offense, with First Best Middle Blocker and team captain Erin May Pangilinan anchoring the defensive stand of the Lady Bulldogs.

NU split the first two sets with UST and was on the brink of facing its first set deficit with a 6-9 disadvantage in the third frame before Solomon stamped her MVP form with one clutch hit after another for a 25-20 tally. 

As the Tigresses roared back behind Xyza Gula, the Lady Bulldogs trailed by 13-16 anew to stare at their potential first five-setter match this season. 

Then Belen, the former UAAP rookie MVP, took charge with a timely eruption against whatever defense the Tigresses threw at her in lifting the Lady Bulldogs to the gritty win. 

“Truthfully, UST was really impressive,” said Miguel as his Lady Bulldogs also overcame the Tigresses’ Game 1 challenge, rising from a set down to hack out a 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 win just a day earlier 

 “For two consecutive days, they played really well. It looked like we were the ones unprepared in the game. But we really showed a bit of our maturity to survive the game.” 

Gula had 18 points while Angeline Poyos and Regina Jurado added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in UST’s runner-up finish this time after placing fourth last season.

Other awardees included Poyos (Second Best Outside Hitter) and Maria Bernadett Pepito (Best Libero) of UST, as well as Lorene Toring (Second Best Middle Blocker) of Adamson.

Earlier, FEU completed a sweep of Adamson with another gritty 25-18, 16-25, 25-15, 21-25, 15-7 win in Game 2 to bag the bronze medal.

It’s the same scenario – and the same results – for the Lady Tamaraws in earning a gutsy five-setter, leaning on the efforts of super rookie Faida Bakanke (16 points), Gerzel Petallo (15 points), and Chenie Tagaod (12 points). 

FEU, which settled for a quarterfinal finish in Season 1, also took a narrow 25-20, 25-19, 12-25, 14-25, 15-12 win in Game 1. – 

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