National University (NU) held off University of Santo Tomas (UST) in a tight first-set duel, came from behind to snatch the second frame then dominated the third to carve out a 25-22, 25-23, 25-11 victory and gain the No. 2 spot in the Final Four of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City on Sunday.
The Lady Bulldogs operated on their combination plays and running attacks anchored on Dindin Santiago-Manabat and bucked some erratic plays to subdue the Tigresses and complete a 73-minute sweep that primed them up for what could be the preview of the championship with the Ateneo Lady Eagles on Saturday.
NU improved to 5-1, next to unbeaten Ateneo’s 6-0 mark with the Lady Bulldogs settling for No. 2 in the crossover semis even if they get past the Lady Eagles.
“We committed a lot of errors,” said NU coach Roger Gorayeb, referring to their 26 miscues. “We can’t win games if we commit as many mistakes.”
UST, which also made 27 errors, drop¬ped to joint third with Far Eastern U at 4-2 with the two teams disput¬ing the No. 3 seat also on Saturday.
Arellano, the reigning NCAA champion, is at 3-3 and hopes to force a play¬off for the last semis berth with a victory over ousted St. Benilde on Sunday.
Santiago-Manabat uncorked a 13-hit game, including 10 on kills, while Myla Pablo added 11 points and Jaja Santiago and skipper Jorelle Singh came through with 10 markers apiece for the Lady Bulldogs, who overpowered the Tigresses, 37-23, in spikes and imposed their height advantage and produced nine blocks as against their rivals two.
Carmela Tunay had an eight-hit game for UST, which also drew seven hits from Pamela Lastimosa and four from Jessey De Leon with top hitter Ennajie Laure held to just six markers by the solid NU defense upfront.