UAAP: Bella Belen, Jennifer Nierva bounce back in dominant NU win
MANILA, Philippines—Jennifer Nierva and Bella Belen made sure that their uncharacteristic performance from last game won’t happen again as they bounced back to lead National University’s 25-23, 25-9, 25-12 victory over University of the East in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at Philsports Arena.
Belen, the reigning MVP, went scoreless, while the senior libero was a non-factor in the previous game as they were benched in their four-set victory over University of the Philippines last Wednesday.
Nierva felt that she let her team down after her underwhelming performance.
“Nakita ko yung game ko nun parang it’s not me. And nakita ko na parang, one factor yun na nahila ko rin yung team ko pababa,” said Nierva, who tallied seven digs and six excellent receptions.
“Hindi na pwedeng maulit yun. So, sinimulan din namin sa training eh. Talagang, nagstart kaming maging yung mas maingay, tapos mas naging mas light yung flow nung team, tapos yun nakita namin ngayon na mas maganda yung galaw ng lahat.”
(I saw my previous game and it’s not me. One factor was I was pulling my team down. It can’t happen again. So we started in training, we become more vocal and the flow of the team was lighter. And in this game, it resulted in better movement from everyone.)
The reigning Best Libero added that she already learned her lessons.
“Coming into this game, my mindset is to really play my role. Because I had a lot of learnings during our game against UP. I was overthinking to the point that I can’t focus. I’m happy that I was able to change my mindset and we got a good outcome,” she said in Filipino.
Belen, who vowed to bounce back, stayed true to her word as she delivered 13 points on an 11-of-17 attacking clip and had seven excellent receptions.
“[Our previous game] was my motivation because I wasn’t able to play against UP. So I told myself: it wasn’t me. So I came back to my goal and our team’s goal this season,” Belen said in Filipino. “We polished our movement and enjoyed the game. Because it seemed like we were not enjoying the past games. So why not bring back the previous NU and our jolly selves inside the court.”
NU coach Karl Dimaculangan knew that his two starters will redeem themselves.
“I know them so well and I know that they will make up for their mistakes,” said Dimaculangan in Filipino. “They understood [why I benched them]. And we will do everything to win the game. I’m happy that they were able to bounce back this game.”
Belen and Nierva seek more improvement as they wrap up the first round against FEU on Saturday at FilOil EcoOil Centre and La Salle on March 22 at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Every game for us is very important. It’s not just about FEU or La Salle, it’s really how we play the game as a team and how we improve every single game,” Nierva said.
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