MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs made short work of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses to notch their eighth victory in the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan.
Skipper DinDin Santiago again led the way for NU as they defeated the error-prone Tigresses in just three sets, 25-16, 25-20, and 25-23.
The Tigresses, who lost for the sixth time in nine games, elevated their level of play with each set but were unable to steal even one set from the Lady Bulldogs, who tightened their grip on the second spot of the league standings.
“Gusto lang naming manalo, puso lang talaga,” said Santiago. “Pinag-pursigihan lang namin at sinabi ko sa kanila na dahan-dahan lang, dahil nara-rattle kami.”
DinDin scored 16 points, while younger sister Jaja Santiago and veteran Carmina Aganon each scored 12 points.
NU led by as much as 10 points in the opener, 20-10, with Jaja Santiago providing terrorizing the UST spikers at the net.
UST rallied to make it 16-23 partly due to hitting and receiving errors by NU, but the deficit was too much and back-to-back kills by DinDin Santiago sealed the set in favor of the Lady Bulldogs.
The Tigresses played better early in the second set, even reaching the first technical timeout, 8-5, off an error by NU setter Ivy Perez.
But consecutive blocks by Jaja Santiago ignited a 10-1 NU run and the Lady Bulldogs claimed a 15-9 lead.
UST would come as close as one point, 16-17, on a crosscourt hit by Pam Lastimosa, but NU still cruised to a 25-20 victory in the second set with Perez making up for her early mistake by scoring the last two points.
NU looked headed for a comfortable victory in the third set, reaching match point, 24-19, on a Myla Pablo kill. But UST earned four consecutive points – two of them coming off NU errors – to come to within a point, 23-24.
Unfortunately for UST, setter Loren Lantin committed a service error, gifting NU with the match-point.
With the win, NU improved to 8-1 this season, just behind the unbeaten De La Salle Lady Spikers in the league standings.
NU scored a total of 11 block points in the game, their highest in the season, and had eight aces. They also had 40 attack points to only 29 for UST.
Jem Gutierrez scored 10 points for the Tigresses, while Carmela Tunay added nine and Pam Lastimosa scored eight.
UST dropped to 3-6, sixth in the league.