NATIONAL University (NU) forced a four-way logjam in third place, while University of the East nailed its first win as the first round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament ended on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Lady Bulldogs squandered a two-set lead and rallied from four points down late in the fifth to outlast University of the Philippines (UP), 25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 18-25, 15-12, and arrest a three-game slide.
Skipper Shaya Adorador sizzled with a career-high 23 points and 21 digs as the Lady Warriors prevailed over Adamson University, 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-18,.
NU looked like goners after trailing 6-10 but the Bulldogs rediscovered their form behind Risa Sato and Jaja Santiago to pin the Lady Maroons their third straight defeat.
With a 4-3 card, NU tied UP, Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas from third to sixth spots, making the Final Four race more exciting.
Ateneo de Manila University now holds the league’s best record at 6-1, while defending champion De La Salle University placed second with a 5-2 record following last Saturday’s loss to the Lady Eagles.
“It’s nice to be back,” said Lady Bulldogs coach Roger Gorayeb.
Santiago led NU with 18 hits while Jorelle Singh got her groove back with 15 points and eight digs.
Marian Buitre finished with a personal-best 20 poimts while Diana Carlos chipped in 15 markers for the Lady Maroons, who lost libero Pia Gaiser early in the game due to a knee injury.
Adorador atoned from her on-and-off showing in the past few matches by displaying leadership to help her team enter the win column and halt a six-game losing streak to the delight of the UE gallery who wanted to see the school emerge the team victorious again.
Meanne Mendrez and Angelica Dacaymat teamed up for 17 points for the Lady Warriors.
Jema Galanza came through with 18 hits, including two blocks, 24 digs and 11 excellent receptions but it was not enough for Adamson University to avoid its first-ever shutout in the first round.
Still looking for their first win under new coach Air Padda, the Lady Falcons now have lost 14 straight matches dating back from last year.
Earlier, Fauzi Ismail scored 21 points while Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad each added 12 hits as NU downed UP, 26-24, 25-13, 23-25, 25-20, to wound up second behind reigning men’s champion Ateneo in the first round at 6-1.
Adamson University overcame a close first set to prevail over UE, 27-25, 25-18, 25-16, and finish the first round with a 2-5 slate.