NU takes down La Salle in 5 sets, stays undefeated
In a showdown between unbeaten teams, National University walked away with a perfect record after outlasting defending champion De La Salle, 26-24, 19-24, 22-25, 25-17, 16-14, in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Bulldogs now own sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the standings with a 4-0 record, the best start in recent memory, while the Lady Spikers slipped to second at 3-1.
It was business as usual for Jaja Santiago, who dominated anew with 27 points for NU.
“These players delivered,” said NU head coach Babes Castillo in Filipino as he pointed to Santiago and setter Jasmine Nabor. “Actually the only thing I did was remind them on what they had to do.”
“And Jasmine really had control of the team, whatever she said the team followed.”
La Salle was able to keep NU at bay momentarily at bay in the fifth set when it took a 12-8 lead after Desiree Cheng weaved the ball through Joni Anne Chavez’ reception.
The Lady Spikers’ momentum in the final set, however, was halted when NU was allowed to rotate and trim the deficit to 12-9 prompting Santiago to get back on the floor.
And Santiago went to work in the wee moments of the set when she first put NU in match point, 14-13, with a brutal quick kill from the middle.
May Luna was able to tie the set at 14-14 but Santiago once again proved her worth for NU when she powered home Nabor’s pass for the 15-14 lead before Aiko Urdas iced the match with a service ace.
Santiago’s offensive production wouldn’t be that potent if not for the harmonic playmaking of Nabor who had all 53 of NU’s excellent sets, 20 more than what La Salle had as a team.
Risa Sato had 15 points to help NU while Urdas and Audrey Paran had 10 points apiece.
Reigning MVP Mary Joy Baron had 14 points to lead La Salle while Luna and Kianna Dy had 12 and 11 points, respectively.
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