National U, La Salle open UAAP volleyball title series
For La Salle assistant coach Benson Bocboc, everything that happened during the season is off the table. Everything, including National University’s (NU) rare 14-game sweep of the eliminations of the 84th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
“Going into Game 1, I think it’s a level playing field,” said Bocboc, the usually reticent deputy acting as the team spokesperson in behalf of Ramil de Jesus. “I don’t think 14-0 has a value here anymore, no. We reached the finals. We play a best-of-three, so we start from zero. It’s just a matter of who gets to win two matches.”
The Lady Spikers and the Lady Bulldogs shoot for the first of those two wins on Saturday when Game 1 of the title series is disputed at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
National U coach Karl Dimaculangan actually shares Bocboc’s view.
“We expect [a kind of game] that is more intense and pressure-packed,” said Dimaculangan on the eve of the 5 p.m. contest. “And I reminded the team that winning 14 games straight is not [winning the championship]. Our mission is not yet over.”
The Lady Bulldogs haven’t tasted a championship since 1958, even with Jaja Santiago in the fold back in Season 80 when they failed to even make it to the Final Four.
La Salle will obviously come into the series more fatigued compared to National U, which got the benefit of a week’s rest while watching the stepladder semifinals the Lady Bulldogs put in effect because of the elimination round sweep.
“We will just focus on the game, I was telling my teammates in the huddle not to be afraid of committing mistakes,” said NU libero Jennifer Nierva. “We have the skills, we worked very hard for them every day in practice.”