Lady Bulldogs roar back at Eagles, force ‘rubber’

Shakey's V-League in action

Dindin Santiago soars for a kill against Ateneo’s Marge Tejada during Game Two of their title series in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 First Conference at the MOA Arena.

National University got back at Ateneo – in grand fashion, scoring a vengeful 26-24, 25-23, 25-22 victory to force a sudden death for the coveted Shakey’s V-League Season 10 First Conference crown before a big Sunday crowd at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

The Lady Bulldogs held off the rallying Lady Eagles in the opening set, fought back to snatch the second frame then dominated their three-peat seeking rivlas in the third to silence the pre-dominantly Ateneo crowd and clinch the victory that sent the best-of-three series to a winner-take-all affair.

The rubber match will be played June 2 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City, which will also be shown live starting at 1 p.m. on GMA News TV Channel 11, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

UST likewise forced a deciding Game Three in their own series for third with Adamson, hacking out a 24-26, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17, earlier.

“They played relaxed and confident after playing tight in our Game One loss,” said NU mentor Edjet Mabbayad in Filipino.

The Lady Eagles, who scored a surprise 25-15, 25-22, 25-23 win in the series’ opener last Thursday, threatened to extend the match in the fourth set when they fought back from nine points down in the third to close within 22-24.

But the Lady Bulldogs came out of the crucial huddle an organized lot with Rubie de Leon, doing what she does best, setting up Carmina Aganon from behind for the vicious kill that pierced through Ateneo’s defense, the ball bouncing off in the center that ended the one-hour, 26-minute encounter.

The Lady Bulldogs finally shook off the championship jitters so evident in their Game One loss with tournament best attacker Myla Pablo and MVP and best scorer Dindin Santiago combining in offense and the 6-4 Jaja Santiago and De Leon providing the stonewall defense that foiled a number of Ateneo attacks all throughout.

“In Game One, I was a little nervous to tell you all honestly so I’m glad to play my game and help my team to victory,” said the 6-2 Dindin Santiago, 19.

Pablo topscored for NU with 15 hits, including 13 kills, while Dindin Santiago unloaded 12 spikes and Aganon finished with eight markers. Jaja Santiago, Aiko Urdas and De Leon wound up with seven points apiece.

Alyssa Valdez came back from a six-point Game One performance while playing limited minutes with a 17-hit production but failed to rally the Lady Eagles, who struggled with their reception and offense in the face of the Lady Bulldogs’ solid net defense.

Thai import Jeng Bualee, acquired to bolster Ateneo’s frontline rotation, made 15 hits and Amy Ahomiro added seven points but Rachel Ann Daquis struggled with just four markers and Fille Cainglet failed to hit her stride and ended up with three hits.

Finally imposing their will on the net, the Lady Bulldogs pooled 45 spikes as against Ateneo’s 37 and came through with 10 blocks, doubling their rivals’ output.(pr)

Towering 6-4 Jaja Santiago goes for a spike against Ateneo’s Jeng Bualee during Game Two of their title series in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 First Conference at the MOA Arena.
Towering 6-4 Jaja Santiago goes for a spike against Ateneo’s Jeng Bualee during Game Two of their title series in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 First Conference at the MOA Arena.

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