NU's Jaja Santiago powers a spike past UP's Kathy Bersola in their game in the UAAP Season 76 women's volleyball tournament. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs easily defeated the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons in straight sets to notch their fifth victory of the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.
Save for a few nervous moments in the second set, it was a straightforward affair for NU as they won 25-17, 25-22, and 25-14.
NU was in complete control of the first set, leading by as much as 15 points, 19-5, as the Lady Maroons receiving left much to be desired.
Sheeka Espinosa sparked UP late in the first set, and team captain Angeli Araneta brought them to within seven, 17-24, but Jaja Santiago proved to be too much to handle for UP as her kill gave NU the first set victory.
UP’s reception was much improved in the second set, and they were neck in neck with NU until after the first technical timeout, when DinDin Santiago and Mina Agnon conspired in a 5-0 blast that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 14-9 lead that they would not relinquish.
NU cruised to the victory in the third set, leading by as much as 12 points, 16-4. The Lady Maroons, after putting up a fight in the second set, deflated anew in the third as they shot themselves in the foot with receiving errors.
DinDin Santiago led the way for the Lady Bulldogs with 16 points on 11 attacks, four blocks and one ace. But she acknowledged that NU still has a lot of room for improvement, especially in terms of maintaining a high level of intensity all throughout a match.
“Masyado kaming relaxed,” she admitted. “At siguro hindi rin kami magka-intindihan, hindi kami nag-uusap sa court kaya hindi rin ganoon kaganda ‘yung nilaro namin.”
The win hiked NU’s record to 5-1, good for second in the league behind the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers. UP, meanwhile, dropped to 0-6.