National University blew a huge lead in the second set but recovered in time to repulse University of Santo Tomas and hack out a 25-21, 29-27, 25-13 victory at the start of the quarterfinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Monday.
Aiko Urdas and Jaja Santiago pumped in a hit each as the Lady Bulldogs pulled through in an extended second set duel, which they dominated at 21-13 only to crumble with miscues and poor service reception.
After another slow 0-3 start in the third, the defending champions rattled off five straight points and went on to dominate their rivals to post the lopsided set win and complete their sweep of the España-based squad in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
“This is a morale boosting win for us especially that we’re coming from a loss,” said NU assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad, referring to their stinging 15-25, 25-27, 17-25 defeat to the Ateneo Lady Eagles last Saturday that kept the latter in the quarters hunt.
NU, which finished the Group A elims with a 3-1 card, still has to wait for the result of the Ateneo-Technological Institute of the Philippines knockout match for the last quarterfinal berth being played at presstime to determine its carryover mark which will not include results of their matches with the two ousted teams in their group, including Perpetual Help.
UST, which posted a 2-2 slate in Group B elims topped by FEU (4-0) and UP (3-1), thus fell to 0-3 in the quarters since its two wins in the elims over ousted teams San Beda and St. Benilde, won’t count in the next phase based on the unique carryover format in the tournament backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
A win by Ateneo will give NU a 3-1 card while a TIP victory will give the Lady Bulldogs a 4-0 mark.
After cruising in the first frame, the Lady Bulldogs looked headed for a runway win after storming to a 21-13 lead in the second set. But the Tigresses, the winningest school in the league where it all started with six championships, fought back behind Laure and Carla Sandoval while pouncing on their rivals’ errors, piling up eight straight points to draw level.
Santiago broke the spell with a quick hit then scored on a block to put NU up by two again but UST took three of the next four points to grab the lead at 25-24.
NU tied the game thrice, the last at 27 on a service error by guest player Ma. Agatha Mangulabnan before Urdas and Santiago came through with back-to-back hits to salvage the set win.
Santiago wound up with 15 hits while veteran Jorelle Singh added 14 points and Urdas chipped in 11 markers for the Lady Bulldogs,w ho produced 39 spikes and nine blocks to dominate the Tigresses, who had 29 and three, respectively.
Laure matched Santiago’s output while Ria Meneses scored the bulk of her eight-point output in their second set charge but the duo failed to draw solid support from the rest.