Lady Bulldogs repel Eagles, nail 3rd V-League title
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - September 15, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – National University knocked off Ateneo with its power game and superb blocking in the decider as the Lady Bulldogs completed their back-to-back title romp in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference with a 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 21-25, 15-4 victory over the Lady Eagles before a huge Wednesday crowd at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The Lady Bulldogs checked an early struggle and a shaky stint in the fourth with an emphatic win in the fifth with Jorelle Singh and Jasmine Nabor stepping up to provide the solid backup to Jaja Santiago.

Singh and Nabor delivered four of NU’s last four points when Santiago stayed at the back row on rotation and the Lady Bulldogs, who seized control in the early going of the fifth with their solid blocking, scored a follow-up to their thrilling, come-from-behind fashion, 25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 25-18, 18-16, last Monday to sweep their best-of-three series.

Singh pumped in back-to-back hits that sandwiched Jhoanna Maraguinot’s error to give NU a commanding 13-4 lead, then the left-handed Nabor, a former spiker turned into a setter, blasted in two power-packed swipes to finish off the Lady Eagles, triggering a wild celebration at center court by NU players, officials and supporters.

Nabor went on to bag the Finals MVP honors.

The victory was NU’s third in the country’s premier women’s volley league sponsored by Shakey’s and it came after the Lady Bulldogs swept the Lady Eagles in sudden death in last year’s finale. NU scored its breakthrough in Season 10 in 2013, also against Ateneo, in three.

Earlier, Santiago bagged the conference’s MVP honors in simple rites with the top Lady Bulldog also coming away with the best middle blocker plum. Despite the twin personal feats, Santiago – and the Lady Bulldogs – sputtered in the early going and fell short in their comeback bid in the opening frame.

But they put their act together in time, dominating the second set and held sway in the next but the Lady Eagles struck back in the fourth to send the match into a fifth set.

But the Lady Bulldogs took eight of the first 11 points, including four on kill blocks that set the tone for NU’s fifth set rout.

Not even the slight delay after the technical timeout in the fifth, with NU on top, 8-3, could slow down the Lady Bulldogs, who piled up the next seven points to fashion out the win.

Former ace Alyssa Valdez’s presence on the Ateneo bench hardly helped fire up the Lady Eagles, who succumbed to the Lady Bulldogs’ awesome attacking game anchored on the 6-5 Santiago.

Earlier, University of the Philippines unleashed a strong finishing kick in the fourth set coming off a heart-breaking setback in the third, hacking out a 25-18, 25-21, 32-34, 25-21 victory over Far Eastern U to clinch third place honors.

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