National University (NU) outlasted last year’s runner-up Ateneo de Manila University, 17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13, to strengthen its Final Four bid in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
Skipper Jaja Santiago powered the Lady Bulldogs with 25 points on 16 attacks, eight huge blocks, and an ace as NU grabbed the solo third spot with a 7-4 mark.
Despite the loss, Ateneo stayed on top with a 9-2 card and already secured of a Final Four berth.
Earlier, University of the Philippines (UP) posted an easy 25-15, 25-16, 25-20 win over Adamson University to stay alive in the Final Four race.
The Lady Maroons needed just 70 minutes to claim their sixth win in 11 outings.
Season 78 Rookie of the Year Isa Molde led UP with eight attacks, six aces and a block along with 22 digs while middle hitter Katherine Bersola bounced back from a poor showing in their last game with 12 points.
Diana Carlos chipped in 11 markers.
“We’re playing one game at a time. Step by step,” said Lady Maroons assistant coach Rald Ricafort.
The Lady Falcons remained winless in 11 games.
Wing spiker Jema Galanza had 10 points, 23 digs and nine receptions and Joy Dacoron added nine markers – but these were not enough to tow Adamson to its first win this season.
UP dominated the attack line, 42-21, and service area, 10-3.
Adamson had one block edge than UP, 6-5.
In the men’s division, Ateneo overpowered Adamson, 25-18, 25-20, 25-14, to nail its 11th straight victory – three wins away of completing a 14-game sweep and an automatic slot in the finals that goes with it.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo, skipper Karl Baysa and veteran Rex Intal combined for 35 points built behind the impressive showing of playmaker Ish Polvorosa, who displayed 39 excellent sets.
Far Eastern University, meanwhile, nipped University of the East, 25-19, 25-22, 25-13, to take the solo third with a 6-5 card.