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Sports

Lady Bulldogs edge Tams, make semis

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MANILA, Philippines - National U held off Far Eastern U in a thrilling five-setter, 25-21, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 15-13, to clinch the second semifinal berth in Group B in the eighth Shakey’s V-League first conference before a big Sunday crowd at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Bulldogs blew a two-set lead in the face of the Lady Tams’ mighty comeback but hung tough in the tightly-fought decider to annex the all-important victory they fashioned out in an action-packed two-hour encounter.

NU thus closed out the two-division, single round quarters with a 2-1 slate, ensuring a first-ever stint in the Final Four after winding up sixth in last year’s second conference.

Adamson bucked a poor start and stopped Ateneo in three, 28-26, 25-10, 25-19, to remain in the hunt for the last semis berth.

The Lady Falcons tied the Lyceum Lady Pirates at 1-1 with the two teams disputing the last Final Four slot tomorrow at the close of the quarterfinal round.

Adamson’s win also ended Perpetual Help’s (1-2) hopes to force a tie for the second semis seat.

“Coach (Francis Vicente) told us to just go with the flow and take it easy in the fifth set,” said NU guest player Denise Santiago after anchoring the team’s big win over the fancied Tams with 18 hits, including five blocks.

NU held on to a 14-13 lead in the fifth then rolled into the semis when Mayjorie Roxas made a service error, triggering a wild celebration by the NU fans at ringside.

The Bustillos-based squad thus joined University of St. La Salle team in the Final Four along with Group A topnotcher Ateneo with the last semis slot being disputed by Perpetual Help, Lyceum and last year’s second conference champion Adamson.

The loss, its second straight, booted out FEU from the semis race with a 0-2 card in the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza and backed by Accel and Mikasa.

The Tams fought back from two sets down with scrambling wins in the third and fourth sets but failed to sustain their momentum in the fifth and bowed to a determined NU side.

Cherry Vivas backed Santiago with 14 kills for a 15-point output while Maricar Nepomuceno and Monique Tiangco added 13 and 10 hits, respectively, for the Bulldogs.

Rose Vargas and Rachel Daquis combined for 43 hits while May Morada tossed in 18 points for the Tams, who outhit the Bulldogs, 53-47, and came through with more blocks, 16-12.

But the Bulldogs pounced on their rivals’ errors, scoring 44 points while yielding 31 from their miscues. NU also wound up with 89 excellent digs and 81 sets as against FEU’s 80 and 78, respectively.

ACCEL AND MIKASA

ADAMSON

ATENEO

BUT THE BULLDOGS

CHERRY VIVAS

DENISE SANTIAGO

FAR EASTERN U

FINAL FOUR

FRANCIS VICENTE

PERPETUAL HELP

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