Jaja Santiago finds silver lining in NU’s straight set loss to La Salle
National University’s start to the second round didn’t go exactly as the Lady Bulldogs’ planned.
Heading into their Saturday matchup against defending champion De La Salle, the Lady Bulldogs were the top team in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament with a 6-1 record.
The Lady Spikers needed just three sets and less than two hours to tie NU atop the standings with 6-2 records after a 27-25, 27-25, 25-16 win.
Despite the disappointing finish, captain Jaja Santiago found a few positives in the way her teammates dealt with the loss.
“I talked to my teammates, I took the initiative of doing it and I told them that this game should show us where we lack as a team,” said Santiago, who had 13 points in the loss, in Filipino at Mall of Asia Arena.
“And I heard their comments so that’s the good thing because we know from ourselves where we can improve on. And I’m happy that the team isn’t really downtrodden after this.”
NU’s only redeeming quality in the scoring area was it committed less errors than La Salle, 21-24, but the Lady Spikers practically owned the Lady Bulldogs in all aspects of the game.
La Salle outscored NU 36-32 in spikes, 9-5 in blocks, and a staggering 13-5 margin in service aces.
It was a stark contrast from their first meeting when NU stunned the defending champions 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 16-14.
In that game, NU had a slight 55-51 edge in spikes and 13-11 lead in blocks. Santiago also exploded for 27 points while Risa Sato had 15 points and Audrey Paran and Aiko Urdas each scoring 10.
“We weren’t shaky earlier in the game, there were just a lot of things that we failed to address,” said Santiago. “Last game we won in five sets, maybe we weren’t able to capture what we did before.”