UAAP 80 Volleyball Preview: NU taking road to Final Four one step at a time
Head coach: Babes Castillo
Last season: 7-7
Key holdovers: Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor, Risa Sato
For all the talent that’s within National University, it’s quite surprising that the girls in navy-and-gold have just featured in the Final Four just twice in the last four years.
The team’s two leaders, though, are determined to get the Lady Bulldogs past the semifinals, especially with Jaja Santiago bidding the school goodbye at the end of the season.
“We have to take it step-by-step, first round then the second round,” said Santiago, who has won several MVP plums in the club level, in Filipino.
“We can’t just target the Final Four and we’re still in the first round. We have to finish strong in the first round and continue that momentum in the second. If we can perform well in the first round, we have to do better in the second round.”
As unfortunate as it may seem, the Lady Bulldogs had the reputation of bottoming out in the latter half of the season after having a stellar start.
The Lady Bulldogs started Season 78 on a 3-1 start but would end up winning just two in their next seven games and ending the tournament with a mediocre 7-7 card at the fifth spot.
NU then ended Season 79 on the same 7-7 record and this time the Lady Bulldogs went off 3-0 before losing three straight and eventually ending the tournament on a three-game skid.
Jasmine Nabor, a two-time Finals MVP and one-time Best Setter in the Premier Volleyball League, said they first have to make it into the Final Four before dreaming of reaching the championship round.
“Of course the goal is to reach the Final Four before playing in the Finals,” said Nabor in Filipino. “I want each and every one of us to improve as the season goes on and my goal is to become the best leader I can be on the court.”
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