UAAP: NU overpowers UP to complete first round sweep

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2022 02:09 PM | Updated as of May 19 2022 02:18 PM

NU libero Jennifer Nierva passes the ball against the UP Fighting Maroons in their UAAP Season 84 first round match. UAAP Media.
NU libero Jennifer Nierva passes the ball against the UP Fighting Maroons in their UAAP Season 84 first round match. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) National University's (NU) perfect start to the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament continued on Thursday, with a sweep of the University of the Philippines (UP) at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Bulldogs cruised to a 25-10, 25-20, 25-15 victory, improving to 7-0 in the elimination round -- their best ever start to a season.

The Fighting Maroons, meanwhile, absorbed a fourth straight defeat to finish the first round with a 3-4 win-loss slate. 

Rookie star Michaela Belen had 13 points, all on kills, while skipper Princess Robles added 12 markers along with 12 digs, and Ivy Lacsina scored 11 points. NU registered 44 kills to only 26 by UP, and limited their errors to just 16. 

"Kailangan din namin 'tong panalo na 'to going to the second round. Kasi momentum namin 'to para ma-motivate lalo 'yung team at makapag-prepare pa kami para sa mga mas mahirap na game sa second round," said NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan.

After a comfortable win in the opening frame, the Lady Bulldogs encountered some resistance in Set 2 as UP scored four straight points to threaten, 22-19. Niña Ytang shone for the Fighting Maroons in the run, with back-to-back kills to spark their comeback.

A service error by Ethan Arce stopped UP's momentum and gave NU a 23-19 lead, but Ytang scored again for a 23-20 count. The Lady Bulldogs were unfazed, however, as Robles overpowered the UP net defense before Ytang was stopped by a triple-block to give NU a 2-0 advantage.

The Fighting Maroons raced to a 6-1 start in the third set, with Arce scoring back-to-back aces and forcing Dimaculangan to sue for time. Out of the timeout, NU scored seven of the next eight rallies to take an 8-7 lead, and they dominated from there.

No player reached double-digits for UP, with Lorie Bernardo and Jewel Encarnacion scoring seven points and Arce tallying six. Alyssa Bertolano was held in check again, contributing just five points across three sets.