'Impressive' Lady Bulldogs eye better 2nd round

By Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 16 2014 05:39 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2014 01:39 AM

MANILA – The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs look to improve even further in the second round of the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament after finishing the first round with a 6-1 win-loss record.

The Lady Bulldogs have put together some impressive performances this season, including a three-set sweep of last season’s finalists Ateneo Lady Eagles on opening day.

Their lone loss was a three-set white-washing at the hands of defending champions De La Salle, where the Lady Bulldogs looked intimidated against a three-time defending champions.

“Kailangan pa rin mag-improve talaga,” NU coach Edjet Mabbayad told reporters after his team ended the first round with a four-set victory over Adamson University.

“Unang-una, ‘yung maturity din. Bukod sa maturity nila, ‘yung receiving din namin para madali na lang talaga na umopensa,” he said.

The win over Adamson, which saw them display grit in end-game situations, was a huge confidence-booster to the team entering the second round.

“’Yung first round naman namin ay naging maganda, so malaking (boost) sa morale ‘yun para mas pagandahin pa namin ‘yung second round,” Mabbayad said.

NU ended Round 1 in second place, just behind La Salle (7-0) and ahead of Ateneo (5-2).

“Hindi porke nag-end kami sa ganoong standings, magre-relax na kami,” Mabbayad said. “Ang sinasabi nga namin sa kanila is, mahaba pa itong tournament na ito. Start pa lang ito, nagsisimula pa lang tayo.”

Mabbayad is expecting to see better performances from towering rookie Jaja Santiago, who has formed a formidable combination with older sister DinDin.

“Bilang rookie, nagagawa niya ‘yung trabaho niya, at nahihigitan pa niya,” Mabbayad said of the younger Santiago. “Mas ine-expect pa namin sa second round na mag masi-improve pa siya.”