Lady Bulldogs stay unbeaten after ripping defending champs
National University’s (NU) Camilla Lamina described how if feels to be a setter for the hottest team in the league: “It’s fulfilling because once I toss the ball, it is smashed right away.”
Speaking in Filipino, the NU top playmaker said it makes her so pumped up performing ball-distributing duties to certified scorers like Princess Robles, Alyssa Solomon and Michaela Belen. The only thing she really needs to decide is who gets to deliver the kill on her laser-like lobs.
Lamina delivered 22 excellent sets as NU overcame a first-set blitzkrieg from Ateneo to pull off an 18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18 victory on Saturday and remain unbeaten in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball at Mall of Asia Arena.
“First set, we started slow,” Lamina, who also chipped in four points, admitted. “So I reminded them to focus on every point. Of course, it’s in our character to just enjoy it while playing.”
The fun is based on familiarity. The key standouts of the Lady Bulldogs’ core have been teammates since high school and they set up an attack or cover the floor with a seamlessness that is the envy of the other squads.
They did so against the defending champions after recovering from the initial shock. And as soon as team leader Robles, who was held scoreless in the opening set, found her bearings, the result was pretty much inevitable.
“Maybe it’s a wake-up call for us,” said NU coach Karl Dimaculangan on dropping that first set. “We need to play well in every set. We can’t be complacent.”
Dimaculangan said that the idea of having an unbeaten record, which they hiked to 9-0 after beating the Blue Eagles, may have started to get into their heads: “We should focus on mental toughness. Set aside the hype. It’s still a long way to go.”
True. But with a dominant run so far, the Lady Bulldogs have made the hype look real.
Belen finished with 19 points, Robles added 16 and Solomon chipped in 14 for NU which dealt Ateneo its fifth defeat in nine outings. The spread-out scoring shows just how much spoiled for choice Lamina is when pulling strings on offense.
“It gives me a lot of confidence that when I toss the ball, it gets spiked right away,” she said.
NU stayed two games beyond the reach of University of Santo Tomas (UST), which cemented its hold of second place after overcoming University of the Philippines (UP), 25-20, 18-25, 26-24, 25-23 in the third game.
Eya Laure unloaded 25 points but not before giving the Tigresses a big scare by committing three consecutive attack errors at match point. She more than made up for it by nailing the winning point.
It was the fourth straight win for UST and the Tigresses’ seventh in nine outings. UP fell to 4-5.
Earlier, Adamson rebounded from a painful defeat last time around, ripping University of the East, 25-16, 25-14, 25-9, for its fifth win against four losses.
The Lady Falcons, who dropped a five-setter to the Tigresses after leading two sets to none, booted out the Lady Warriors, who slumped to 0-9.