THE National University Lady Bulldogs padded their record to 6-4 in UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball with a win over the struggling University of the East Lady Warriors in four sets, 25-15, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-21, yesterday.
Finding their footing of late following a major slide in the first round of eliminations, the Lady Bulldogs racked up their third victory in four games with the UE win to give their Final Four push a boost.
The Lady Bulldogs used a multipronged attack anew to chip away on the Lady Warriors as the game progressed.
NU made a quick start to the opening set which it used to bury deep the Lady Warriors who never got to recover from it.
In the second, UE played with confidence and resolve, controlling the tempo for much of the frame.
It held a 16-8 lead by the second technical time out and seemingly on its way to an easy set win.
The Lady Bulldogs though had other things in mind, going on a 17-5 run to overtake the Lady Warriors to snatch the set.
In the third set, NU blitzed to race to an 8-3 lead by the first technical time out.
UE, however, would make a run, outscoring NU, 13-5, to seize the lead by the second technical time out, 16-13, and extended it further to a six-point cushion, 20-14.
NU tried to rally back and came close to within two points, 24-22, but the red-and-white would hold on to win Set 3.
Like the third frame, the Lady Bulldogs started strong to build some early cushion in the fourth set before the Lady Warriors tied the contest at nine-all.
The two teams battled hard thereafter.
NU would take a 20-19 and never relinquished it as it went on to seal the victory.
Jaja Santiago was the top scorer for the Lady Bulldogs with a game-high 23 points, with Jorelle Singh and Risa Sato chipping in 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Setter Jasmine Nabor had 88 excellent sets on top of eight points.
UE, meanwhile, was led by the 16 points of Shaya Adorador.
“This was a big win for us considering the tight race for the last two spots in the Final Four. The way I see it, the top two are already secured by Ateneo and La Salle. We can try to catch them but it’s going to be tough. So we have to finish strong and win as many games as possible in the elimination round,” said NU coach Roger Gorayeb after the game.
With the win, NU joined the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses for joint third place at 6-4. It next faces the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles (9-1) on Wednesday.
UE, for its part, dropped to 1-9. The Lady Warriors play next on Saturday versus the defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers (7-2).
Late yesterday, La Salle was to play the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons (5-4), who were also eyeing their sixth win of the season.