Lady Bulldogs assured of playoff for twice-to-beat bonus

April 21, 2024 Theodore P. Jurado 125 views

NATIONAL University assured itself of a playoff for a twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four by sweeping Adamson, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Philsports Arena yesterday.

Bella Belen had 14 points, including two service aces, and five digs while Alyssa Solomon had 12-of-24 spikes to also finish with 14 points as the Lady Bulldogs remained undefeated in the second round.

“Noong first round nagkulang kami sa enjoyment. Ngayon nandoon na yung enjoyment saka yung maturity na kailangan hindi kami magrerelax, na every game namin dapat all out pa rin kami kahit sino kalaban,” said Solomon.

NU, which seized the top spot at 11-2, will next face Far Eastern University to wrap up its elimination round campaign on Wednesday. The Lady Bulldogs could potentially face the Lady Tamaraws in the Final Four.

Defending champion La Salle and University of Santo Tomas are level in second place at 10-2.

FEU overcame a tough University of the Philippines challenge, 25-20, 27-29, 25-21, 25-21, to extend its winning streak to five matches.

The fourth-running Lady Tamaraws improved to 9-4 overall.

“Satisfied and happy kasi nakuha namin yung panalo,” said first-year Lady Tamaraws coach Manolo Refugia.

“Nakaka-boost talaga ng morale yung nanalo kami against sa UST so nag level up yung mindset namin, so yung preparation namin nagiging maganda,” the youthful head coach furthered.

Congo’s Faida Bakanke sustained her stellar play in FEU’s winning run, firing 16-of-33 kills had two blocks to finish with 19 points and collected four digs.

Chenie Tagaod added 13 points and 11 receptions while setter Tin Ubaldo tossed in 19 excellent sets for the Lady Tamaraws.

Steph Bustrillo finished with 16 points while Niña Ytang had 15 points, including two blocks and two service aces for the Fighting Maroons, who dropped to 1-12.

The Lady Falcons, last year’s third placers, stumbled to their 10th defeat in 13 matches.

In the men’s division, FEU claimed the first twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four, thumping UP for its eighth straight win, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22.

Holders NU moved half-a-game ahead of La Salle in the chase for the remaining twice-to-beat slot with a 25-19, 25-17, 25-16 sweep of Adamson.

The Tamaraws now hold a 12-1 record, which also assured them the top ranking after the eliminations.

The Bulldogs now have a 10-3 card, dislodging the Green Spikers, who now sit the third spot at 9-3.

This is the first time since 2012 that FEU topped the elimis, which is also the last time the Morayta-based program won the championship.

“Magpo-focus lang kami sa mental toughness. Yung skills, lahat ng papasok sa top four makikita natin yung skills napakataas, ang kailangan lang maging focus ng bawat isa sa amin ay kung paano namin ihahandle sa sarili namin,” said Tamaraws coach Eddieson Orcullo.

“Nasa number one kami, napakahirap na posisyon niyan, bukod sa pagtrabaho sa skills, magfofocus talaga kami malaki sa mental capability namin,” he added.

All but one of the 12 position players entered the scoring column for FEU led by Andrei Delicana’s 11 points and Dryx Saavedra’s eight.