Santiago, Lady Bulldogs overcome Ateneo in 4 sets
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The National University Lady Bulldogs held off a late Ateneo rally as they pulled off a 25-17, 25-13, 19-25, 29-27 victory against last year’s runners-up on Wednesday, February 8 at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Bulldogs took advantage of Ateneo’s faulty reception in the first two sets as 9 service aces provided a double-digit cushion for Jaja Santiago’s squad.
The Katipunan squad meanwhile refused to go down without a fight, coming alive in the third set following a series of unforced errors from the NU side.
A solid defensive stance in the middle led by veteran Santiago as well as better reception powered the Lady Bulldogs to close off the match.
"[Noong] third set, ang bilis namin na-discourage," shared NU head coach Roger Gorayeb after the four-set thriller. "Fourth set, ang laki ng hinabol. Masaya ako para sa mga bata."
"Huwag ibigay and confidence sa Ateneo. 'Yun ang isang way namin, kapag nawala confidence [ng Ateneo], kaya namin sila."
(During the third set, the girls got discouraged right away. Fourth set, we had to rally. I'm happy for the kids.)
(Just don't give Ateneo their confidence. That was part our plan; if Ateneo loses their confidence, we can beat them.)
Skipper Santiago put up a game-high 26 points and 6 blocks for National University, while Jorelle Singh and Risa Sato contributed 16 and 12 respectively.
Bea de Leon led all Ateneo scorers with 14 markers, while Jho Maraguinot added 12.
NU (3): Santiago 26, Singh 16, Sato 12, Nabor 8, Urdas 7, Doromal 6
Ateneo (1): De Leon 14, Maraguinot 12, Morente 11, Tolentino 9, Morado 4, Madayag 4, Samonte 1, Gequillana 1. –Rappler.com