NU looks to ground Ateneo in UAAP volleyball

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2018 12:19 AM

Jaja Santiago (3) and the rest of the NU Lady Bulldogs look to lock up their second win in a row. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports.

MANILA, Philippines – After opening its UAAP Season 80 campaign with a solid win over Adamson, National University looks to take the solo lead when the Lady Bulldogs take on the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Game time is at 4 p.m.

In the first game of the women's double-header, University of the East and University of Santo Tomas try to get their first win at 2 p.m.

The Lady Bulldogs dismissed the Lady Falcons in four sets, 25-15, 25-23, 16-25, 25-13, to kick off the women's volleyball tournament on a high note on Saturday.

Jaja Santiago shone for NU with 16 points, while Aiko Urdas and Audrey Paran each had nine. But there was plenty of things to work on for the Lady Bulldogs, who fell apart in the third set of the match before regrouping.

"Maganda 'yung pinakita namin, pero sa akin, alam kong kulang pa," Santiago acknowledged after the game.

They have a chance to display their strengths further on Wednesday, when they go up against an Ateneo team that is reeling from a five-set loss to Far Eastern University on Sunday night.

The Lady Eagles, now playing without iconic setter Jia Morado and all-around spiker Michelle Morente, squandered a 6-1 lead in the fifth set and were barely able to receive against the Lady Tamaraws. They gave up a whopping 20 aces in the game, and committed 40 unforced errors.

Yet NU knows it cannot underestimate Ateneo, even though the Lady Bulldogs won both of their matches against the Lady Eagles last season.

"If you watch Ateneo in the past 3 or 4 years, ang isa sa mga abilities nila, they easily adapt," observed NU head coach Babes Castillo. " 'Yun ang ine-expect ko with Ateneo. They will definitely adapt."

Santiago added: "Pag-aaralan namin ng maigi 'yun, kasi though marami sa kanilang nawala, hindi kami pwedeng magpa-kampante."

The Lady Eagles are already bracing for a tough match against the Lady Bulldogs, a team that is tipped to contend for a Final 4 spot in Season 80.

"Basta every game, lalaban at lalaban," Ateneo coach Sherwin Meneses said. "Kung ibigay 'yung panalo, eh 'di OK."

In the first game, it's a battle between winless teams.

UE bowed to University of the Philippines in five sets on Sunday, while UST gave defending champion La Salle all it could handle before also losing in five sets.

The day's slate of games starts at 8 a.m., with the UST Tiger Spikers facing off against the UE Red Warriors.

Defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles will take on the NU Bulldogs in a rematch of last season's finals at 10 a.m.

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