NU pips UP for Round 1 wipeout

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
NU pips UP for Round 1 wipeout
Alyssa Solomon of NU attacks the defense of UP’s Ysabel Encarnacion.

MANILA, Philippines — Unstoppable National U bullied its way to a first-round sweep for its all-time best start, running over University of the Philippines with a commanding 25-10, 25-20, 25-15 victory in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena yesterday.

Power duo Mhicaela Belen and Princess Robles once again took the cudgels for the Lady Bulldogs, combining for 25 markers in the easy match that lasted only 81 minutes.

Team captain Robles also added 12 digs while Ivy Lacsina had 11 markers on two aces for NU, which scored its fifth straight-sets victory in a dominant first-round sweep, the first in school history.

NU’s previous best start was a 6-1 outing in Seasons 76 and 80 with national team standout Jaja Santiago then still at the helm.

Save for dropping a set each against reigning champion Ateneo and runner-up Santo Tomas this season, the Lady Bulldogs wiped out the floor with La Salle, Adamson, Far Eastern U, University of the East and now UP.

That was despite Lady Bulldogs basically fielding a young but lethal squad led by super rookies Belen and Alyssa Solomon, who also provided nine markers in the big heading into the crucial second round.

“We have a young team so it’s good motivation and preparation for the next round. We’re bracing for adjustments of all teams so we needed this win for a momentum moving forward,” said coach Karl Dimaculangan, who’s also in his debut season with the youthful NU unit.

No player scored in double figures again for the free-falling UP that stumbled to its fourth straight defeat after an impressive 3-0 start.

Earlier, Adamson kept UE winless with a 25-23, 25-20, 25-18 win to improve to 4-3 entering the second phase.

In the third game, Santo Tomas snapped reigning champion Ateneo’s three-game run in a rematch of the last UAAP finals, fashioning out a thrilling 25-19, 25-21, 29-31, 33-31 victory.?

Eya Laure erupted for a career-high 31 points as the Golden Tigresses climbed to 5-2 at No. 2 behind unbeaten NU. Faith Nisperos (22) led the Blue Eagles, who slid to 3-4.

May Ann Nuique and Lorene Toring chipped in 15 and 14 markers, respectively, while Rizza Cruz had 10 in Adamson’s rebound win after having its three-game streak snapped by Santo Tomas the other day.

The Lady Warriors’ hunt for win remained elusive at now a 0-7 card despite Janeca Lana’s 16 points.

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