National U hopes to ride the momentum of its record sweep of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference crown as it gears up for a shot at ending a more than six-decade drought for a UAAP championship.
Coach Babes Castillo said he will add a couple more players to his already formidable squad, making the Lady Bulldogs one of the early favorites when the UAAP women’s volleyball is fired off early next year.
“There will be additional players to join the team for the UAAP,” said Castillo, moments after steering the Lady Bulldogs past the FEU Lady Tams and to a historic nine-game sweep of the PVL title late Saturday.
NU has won the UAAP women’s volley crown only twice, but the last was way back in 1956-57.
But given the team’s form and strength, not to mention confidence, the Lady Bulldogs will surely be one of the teams to beat in Season 80, aside from reigning back-to-back champion La Salle and former winner Ateneo.
Adamson also looms as a team to watch, along with UP and UST, but focus will surely be on the Lady Bulldogs with Jaja Santiago also raring to nail the only crown missing in her vast collection of championships.
But for now, the Lady Bulldogs would want to savor the sweet taste of a triumphant sweep in the PVL.
“For me, winning a championship is always unexpected since we went through a lot. We always go back to the rebuilding stage,” said Santiago, who also bagged the MVP trophy. She also took notice of how the Lady Bulldogs have adjusted well under the system of their new mentor.
Santiago finished with 23 and 22 points in their sweep of the Lady Tams and drew solid backup from Jorelle Singh, Aiko Urdas, Risa Sato, Princess Robles, Audrey Paran and libero Gayle Valdez.
Jasmine Nabor also came through with six points on top of 45 excellent sets and though she lost the Best Setter award to Arellano’ Rhea Ramirez, the ace playmaker was more than happy to have won the crown that mattered most.
Other individual awardees were Christine Soyud of Adamson (1st Best Outside Spiker), AU’s Regine Arocha (2nd Best Outside Spiker), Villareal (1st Best Middle Blocker), Sato (2nd Best Middle Blocker), Toni Basas of the Lady Tams (Best Opposite Spiker) and Valdez (Best Libero).