Inquirer 7 top UAAP 80 women’s volleyball players: Week 3 | Inquirer Sports

Inquirer 7 top UAAP 80 women’s volleyball players: Week 3

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 05:47 PM February 20, 2018

Every week, INQUIRER Sports will be ranking the seven best performers in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. The author will base the rankings on the players’ team standings, statistics, and the intangibles that don’t appear on the stat sheets.

Three weeks in and the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament just got more interesting.

National University, the league’s top seed, has distinguished itself as the early power after a thrilling five-setter against defending champion De La Salle, the league’s no. 2 team.

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It’s in the middle of the ladder that things suddenly got compelling as Ateneo, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, and Adamson University are all tied for the third seed with 2-2 records.

And that’s about it for the third week, a late happy Chinese New Year to you ladies and gents and here are the seven players who got the best fortune in Week 3.

1. Jaja Santiago (National University, middle blocker)

Last week: No. 1

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Weeks on list: 3

It’s almost befitting that the first rankings in the Year of the Dog features a Lady Bulldog at the forefront.

Jaja Santiago has been nothing short of dominant in the UAAP as she showed her force against the Lady Spikers in an epic five-set win, 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 16-14, over the defending champions.

NU’s captain poured in 27 points that treated a La Salle defense like fodder.

And Santiago had her final two points in dramatic fashion against the Lady Spikers.

Unable to come on to the floor in the waning moments of the fifth set, and La Salle needing just three points to win the match, Santiago had to watch in agony as NU hasn’t rotated enough for the middle blocker to take the floor.

So when Aiko Urdas scored NU’s ninth point in the fifth set, Santiago entered the floor in a chorus of cheers as if Joan of Arc suddenly appeared on the field.

Santiago’s mere presence alone inspired NU to hold on, and as if magic caused La Salle to commit three errors, to tie the set at 13-13.

Then Santiago went to work, first sending a booming kill down La Salle’s defense for the 14-13 lead then another one for the 15-14 match point.


2. Jasmine Nabor (National University, setter)

Last week: No. 6

Weeks on list: 2

Jasmine Nabor is the Robin to Santiago’s Batman.

And if the narrative in the match between NU and La Salle was for battle of supremacy between two undefeated teams, there’s also a chapter within this tale and that involved Nabor’s playmaking duel with Michelle Cobb.

It’s safe to say that Nabor schooled the up-and-coming Cobb as NU got to a 4-0 start while La Salle slipped to 3-1

There’s no denying that Cobb has finally distinguished herself as a capable playmaker for La Salle, she did end up as the no.2 player of Week 2, but Nabor worked with magic against the Lady Spikers.

Nabor had all of NU’s 53 excellent sets, more than double than Cobb’s 27 and 20 more than what La Salle had as a whole team.

And Santiago’s clutch kills in the final set? That was courtesy of Nabor’s fine passing.


3. Cherry Rondina (University of Santo Tomas, outside hitter)

Last week: No. 4

Weeks on list: 3

Cherry Rondina has been nothing but spectacular for University of Santo Tomas.

It’s hard to imagine seeing a 5-foot-6 person strike fear in a game that usually sees height as an advantage, but the diminutive Rondina proves that she’s the UAAP’s atomic fireball.

UST played just one game this week and that ended in a three-set sweep of Adamson, 25-9, 31-29, 25-19, in match that left Lady Falcons head coach Air Padda speechless.

“We didn’t fight her, my players totally bowed down,” said Padda as Rondina unleashed 22 points on them. “They were scared on defense, we couldn’t stop Rondina at the net.”

“Cherry is capable of taking a whole set… the girls were intimidated.”

And after the third week, Rondina and Santiago are tied atop the scoring ladder with 92 total points apiece.


4. Maddie Madayag (Ateneo de Manila University, middle blocker)

Last week: N/A

Okay, okay just bear with this a little.

Sure Maddie Madayag scored just 12 points in Ateneo’s four-set win over University of the East, 21-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-14, but it was her leadership that shone through here.

After starting the season with two straight losses, the Lady Eagles have now steadied and climbed to 2-2 and that’s thanks to no small part to Madayag’s leadership.

Madayag was visibly talking to teammates while on the floor and on the bench, and the fourth-year middle blocker knows how important that is to a young team.

“We need more confidence especially we have a new setter and new liberos,” said Madayag pointing out to the departure of Jia Morado and Gizelle Tan. “It’s like we need to have more motivation when we play in the future.”


5. Dawn Macandili (De La Salle University, libero)

Last week: No. 5

Weeks on list: 3

There’s just one constant in De La Salle’s play, and that is Dawn Macandili’s impressive defense.

La Salle will usually see different players lead its offense, but defense is Macandili’s and hers alone.

After three weeks, Macandili is the top at the Best Diggers list with 6.83 digs per set and the no. 2 at the Best Receivers column with an efficiency of 47.62 percent.


6. Kianna Dy (De La Salle University, opposite hitter)

Last week: N/A

It’s been a longtime coming but Kianna Dy is in this list, and for lukewarm reasons.

There’s no denying that Dy is a phenomenal player since she’s, arguably, the best opposite hitter of her UAAP generation but the Lady Spikers went 1-1 this week bumping her to this low in the list.

Dy averaged 14.5 points this week and was crucial in the Lady Spikers’ five-set win, 25-22, 25-17, 24-26, 23-25, 15-7, over the Lady Tamaraws.

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7. Dimdim Pacres (University of Santo Tomas, opposite hitter)

Last week: N/A

Dimdim Pacres has featured in her own narrative lately for the Golden Tigresses.

Since Season 79, Pacres has been UST’s third scoring option behind Rondina and EJ Laure and head coach Kung Fu Reyes expected that from her this year.

Pacres, however, struggled to find her groove in Season 80 as one of the team’s scorers behind Rondina and rookie Milena Alessandrini.

In the three games prior to UST’s dismantling of Adamson, Pacres was averaging just 6.7 points and Reyes wanted more.

Pacres responded with 13 points, almost double than her average, in a redemption game that brought her confidence back.

“I had to step up and I was really frustrated the past few days because I really can’t bring my game back,” said Pacres in Filipino.

TAGS: Cherry Rondina, Dawn Macandili, Dimdim Pacres, Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor, Kianna Dy, Maddie Madayag, Sports, UAAP Season 80

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