MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs bucked a nightmarish start to defeat the Adamson University Lady Bulldogs in four sets in their second round match-up of the UAAP Season 75 women's volleyball tournament.
DinDin Santiago had a strong all-around game and Carmina Aganon stepped up to power the Lady Bulldogs to a 30-28, 20-25, 25-22 and 25-19 victory Wednesday at the San Juan Arena.
With their win, the Lady Bulldogs remain in contention for a slot in the Final Four.
"We really went hard in training, because in our previous game against UST, we prepared hard but it didn't show during the game," said Santiago, who had 21 points for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Falcons looked like they were on their way to an easy victory as veteran Shiela Pineda took advantage of NU’s erratic reception to build an early 6-0 lead, with most of the points coming from the service line.
Adamson would go on to lead by as much as 10 points, 19-9, in the first set, but Santiago rallied her team with a series of service aces late in the opening set.
A kill by Myla Pablo brought the Lady Bulldogs to set point, 24-23, but the Lady Falcons would go on to save six set points before Santiago finally ended matters.
Adamson held off a late NU charge to tie the match in the second set, and once again took an early lead in the third as the Lady Bulldogs committed a host of errors.
With Pablo ineffective, it was Aganon and Cai Nepomuceno who teamed up with Santiago to power the Lady Bulldogs in the third set.
After trailing for most of the third set, the Lady Bulldogs seized control thanks to Santiago's service aces and Urdas' attacks, but it was Nepomuceno who sealed the win with a block of Adamson’s Pau Soriano.
The fourth set was a nip-and-tuck affair, before an error by Adamson's Marleen Cortel and another kill by Aganon allowed NU to open up a 20-18 lead that they would not relinquish.
"This win is very important because we all want to make it to the Final Four," said Santiago.
The Lady Bulldogs booked their seventh win against six losses in Season 75, which puts them in fifth place in the league standings.
Meanwhile, the Lady Falcons dropped to 8-5, but they still have a chance to catch the Ateneo Lady Eagles for second place in the league standings.
Pineda finished with 20 points, including seven aces, for the Lady Falcons, while Soriano added 17 markers.