MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Behind impressive debuts from their highly-touted rookies, the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs sailed to a three-set victory over Adamson University in their first game of UAAP Season 84.
Setter Camille Lamina and spikers Alyssa Solomon and Michaela Belen shone in their first game in the seniors level, and returning captain Cess Robles provided a calming influence in NU's 25-15, 25-23, 25-18 triumph on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Solomon had 15 points on 11 kills, three blocks and an ace, while Belen earned Player of the Game honors after firing 13 of her 14 points on attacks. Robles had an all-around effort of 12 points, eight digs, and five receptions, while Lamina put up 15 excellent sets.
The Lady Bulldogs won in an hour and 25 minutes.
"Masaya kami dahil nakuha namin 'yung panalo," said Karl Dimaculangan, who is in his first season as NU's coach after previously taking charge at the University of the East. "Pero marami pa kaming kailangan ayusin."
"Mahabang season, pero mabilis," he added. "Kailangan makapag-adjust din."
After a comfortable win in the opening frame, the Lady Bulldogs needed to mount a comeback in Set 2 as Adamson took an early lead. They seized the lead for good off a Belen hit, 21-20, and a hitting error by the Lady Falcons gave NU a precarious two-point cushion, 22-20.
Robles put the Lady Bulldogs at set point, 24-22, with a down-the-line hit but a service error by Ivy Lacsina temporarily kept Adamson in the fight. Unfortunately for the Lady Falcons, Lucille Almonte responded with a service error of her own.
NU pulled away midway through the third set, leaning on Adamson's hitting errors as well as attacks from Belen to build a 23-16 advantage.
Lorene Toring tallied eight points, while Amonte, Rizza Cruz, May Ann Nuique, and Aliah Marce each had five points for the Lady Falcons. Trisha Genesis had four points before sitting out the third set. Louie Romero tallied 10 excellent sts in the contest.