Games Saturday (July 18)
12:45 pm. – La Salle-Dasmariñas vs UST
3 p.m. – St. Benilde vs TIP
5 p.m. – UP vs PUP
National U recovered from a shaky first set stint and overpowered University of the Philippines in the next three as the Lady Bulldogs pounded out a 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-18 victory to join Ateneo, Far Eastern U and St. Benilde in the early lead of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City Sunday.
Stung by the surprisingly tough Lady Maroons in the opener, the Lady Bulldogs put their act together with the vaunted sister tandem of Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo spearheading the counterattack to foil and finish off their rivals in one hour and 34 minutes.
Santiago-Manabat, playing as a guest player for her alma mater, unloaded 24 hits, including 16 attacks and five service aces, while Jaja came away with three blocks and three aces to finish with 15 markers in NU’s big start in the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
Pablo backed up Santiago-Manabat upfront, firing 15 kills for an 18-point effort while skipper Jorelle Singh provided the poise and added eight points.
UP drew 13 hits from Diana Carlos but it was the Lady Maroons’ solid blocking that stymied the Lady Bulldogs’ attack in the early going. The Diliman-based squad finished with 15 blocks, including six from Maristela Layug and four from Marian Buitre.
Buitre, Justine Dorog and Maria Molde punched in nine hits apiece while Layug wound up with seven markers in the tournament held as part of the participating 12 teams’ buildup for their respective leagues.
“We want to get some experience as we prepare for the UAAP,” said Edjet Mabbayad, who has taken over from NU coach Roger Gorayeb, who has opted to take a rest following a hectic stint with the national team and the PLDT squad in the recent Open Conference.
NU also saw the return of utility spiker Aiko Urdas, who played late in the second set and the whole of the third and chipped in a hit after missing the last UAAP season due to ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
In other late Saturday games’ results, Far Eastern U and St. Benilde fashioned out a pair of straight set victories over their respective rivals to join Ateneo and NU in the early lead of the weekend-only mid-season tournament of the league where it all started.
The Lady Tams, who upended the Lady Bulldogs to nail the school’s first crown last year here, gave the debuting University of Batangas tossers a rude welcome, scoring a 25-20, 25-18, 25-10 romp while the Lady Blazers survived a second set scare to sweep the San Sebastian side, 25-18, 26-24, 25-11.
Meanwhile, the FEU-UB match will be shown on GMA News TV Channel 11 starting at 1 p.m. Monday while the St. Benilde-SSC clash will be aired Tuesday, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
In the other game, Technological Institute of the Philippines came back from two sets down to eke out a shock 20-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-8 victory over La Salle-Dasmarinas.
Michelle de la Cruz and Alyssa Layug uncorked 17 and 12 hits, respectively, to power the Lady Engineers, the three-peat Universities and Colleges Athletic Association champions, to the victory in their first-ever game in the Shakey’s V-League.
“This is the biggest stage we’ve played and we happy we won,” said TIP mentor Boy Paril in Filipino.