UAAP: ‘Motivated’ NU buckles down to deliver statement win over Adamson
MANILA, Philippines—With National University’s first-round squeaker over Adamson still fresh in their minds, Bella Belen and the Lady Bulldogs did not leave anything to chance in their rematch on Wednesday.
Led by Belen, the Lady Bulldogs made a statement, hammering out a 26-24, 25-16, 25-22 win to remind the rest of the league that they’re the defending champions for a reason.
“Dikit po yung laban namin nung first round and muntikan pa po kami matalo. So sinabi namin ngayon dapat yung win namin talagang maganda. Yung talagang masasabi na panalo po kami,” said Belen, who scored 20 points in three sets. “Isa rin yun sa naging motivation namin na ayusin namin yung laro namin ngayon para makabawi sa first round.”
(Our game in the first round was a close one and we almost lost. So we said that this time we have to win convincingly. We’re also motivated to play a better game to make up for our lapses in the first round.)
NU survived a scare against Adamson in their first encounter last March, 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 22-25, 15-10.
The reigning MVP, who also won the top rookie award last season, believes their straight-set win over Adamson was their best game so far after their struggles in the first round, where they lost twice to La Salle and once against University of Santo Tomas.
“I think parang eto yung pinakamalinis na since round one,” said Belen. (I think this is our [best game] so far since round one.)
“This is a huge confidence booster for us because Adamson is a tough opponent. They are a defensive team and they move flawlessly. We’re happy to win this game because we know that we worked hard for this and we didn’t let up,” she added in Filipino.
Belen and the Lady Bulldogs made the most of their one-week break to earn their second straight win and join Adamson and UST with similar 7-3 slates behind No. 1 La Salle (9-1).
“At first, we rested. It was like a reset for us to relax our minds and bodies. Then we prepared for Adamson and studied their game and movement. We’re happy we were able to apply the scenarios prepared by our coach. We had an answer for every situation,” she said.
The 20-year-old outside hitter stressed that they could not be contented with their convincing win as NU battles Far Eastern University — one of its remaining four games of the elimination — on Sunday at Philsports Arena.
“We can’t be contented even if we won. We have to look at the brighter side that we still have a lot of room for improvement like minimizing our errors and being more consistent and more disciplined,” Belen said.