Lady Bulldogs thump Spikers, gain lead

Jaja Santiago of NU diverts a shot away from the defensive wall of  Aduke Christine Ogunsanya (13) and Cheng Desiree of La Salle in the UAAP women’s volleyball game yesterday at the Filoil Flying  V Center. Joven Cagande

Lady Bulldogs thump Spikers, gain lead

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Jaja Santiago took charge as National U outlasted holder La Salle in a five-set nail-biter, 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 16-14, to seize the solo lead in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center yesterday.

Santiago unleashed a 27-point explosion, capping her heroics with kills that put the Lady Bulldogs at match point twice, as the 4-0 NU belles got the better of the Lady Spikers (3-1) in an early clash of unbeaten heavyweights.

But it wasn’t a one-woman show for Santiago, who produced 24 attack points, four blocks and three aces, as Jasmine Nabor orchestrated NU’s plays skillfully, tossing 53 excellent sets – an output that overshadowed DLSU’s team tally of 33.

Risa Sato helped out in scoring with 15 hits as Aiko Urdas, who clinched it with an ace, and Audrey Paran added 10 points apiece.

“It’s a big morale-booster for us, beating the defending champions who with their complete lineup and a proven system are so hard to beat,” Santiago said.

University of Santo Tomas later blanked Adamson, 25-9, 31-29, 25-19, to improve to 2-2 and force a four-way logjam at third with the Lady Falcons,  Ateneo and Far Eastern U. 

Sisi Rondina struck with 22 hits as the Tigresses got back on track while snapping AdU’s two-game streak. 

After forcing a deciding set, the Lady Bulldogs willed themselves back from an 8-12 disadvantage and showed steely nerves as they beat La Salle in the pulsating battle to the finish line.

Catching up at 13-13, Santiago put NU on the hill with a quick kill but DLSU saved match point with May Luna landing the equalizer. Santiago again converted Nabor’s set into match point No. 2 before Urdas sealed it on the service line.

Majoy Baron punched in 14 while Luna added 12 in a losing cause for DLSU, which slipped to second.

Meanwhile, the NU Bulldogs shut out the DLSU Green Archers, 27-25, 25-16, 25-20, to post its second straight victory and 3-1 overall over in men’s play.

The Bulldogs grabbed a share of second with idle Ateneo and Santo Tomas, which claimed win No. 3 over Adamson, 25-20, 25-21, 14-25, 25-22, in the other game.

The Archers and the Falcons both fell to 1-3.

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