Dindin Santiago of NU (C) powers the ball past UP's Angeli Araneta (L) and Kathy Bersola (R). Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs survived a shaky second set to register a three-set sweep of the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons and nail their ninth consecutive victory in the UAAP Season 76 women’s volleyball tournament.
It was a team effort again for the Lady Bulldogs as they defeated the Lady Maroons, 25-17, 26-24, and 25-13, Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.
With the victory, the Lady Bulldogs now have an 11-1 win-loss record in the tournament and have clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
UP had a few bright moments in the first set, thanks to the offensive blocks of Kathy Bersola, but NU still cruised to an easy win with skipper DinDin Santiago and veteran Carmina Aganon coming up with the key hits.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed for most of the second set, however, committing several hitting errors that allowed UP to keep a two-point lead up until the latter parts of the set.
The Lady Maroons were ahead, 23-21, following an Angeli Araneta kill, before a Santiago crosscourt spike and a violation by UP allowed NU to tie the game at 23-all.
UP was able to reach the set point, 24-23, when Santiago committed a service error, but the Lady Bulldogs showed composure in scoring the last three points of the set, the last of which came on a hitting error by the Lady Maroons.
“Masyado kami nag-relax,” Santiago admitted when asked about their Set 2 letdown. “Tapos, hindi kami nag-uusap.”
NU made sure that there would be no such issues in the third set, however, as they raced to a quick 16-6 lead and even sent in their bench players, who also contributed in the comfortable victory.
Santiago was named the Player of the Game after scoring 18 points on 15 attacks, two blocks, and one service ace.
UP dropped to 1-11 this season.