Lady Bulldogs near another SSL title after edging Tigresses in Game 1
MANILA, Philippines — National University needed to recover from its first set loss before taming the gritty University of Santo Tomas, 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17, to move closer to another perfect Shakey’s Super League (SSL) Pre-Season Championship Season 2 on Friday night at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs dropped their first set defeat in the tournament as the trio of Regina Jurado, Angeline Poyos, and Jonna Perdido won the opening set for the Golden Tigresses with the help of setter Cassie Carballo’s brilliant plays and timely hits.
NU gained momentum through the all-to-play rule as second stringers Arah Panique, Kaye Bombita, and Aisha Bello dominated the second set to equalize the game and set the tone for the Lady Bulldogs’ starters in dominating the next two sets.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Alyssa Solomon took charge and finished with 15 points built on 11 attacks, three aces, and a block, while Bella Belen and Vange Alinsug delivered 13 points each to keep NU unbeaten in nine games this tournament with a 17-game winning streak dating back to their perfect title run last year.
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“UST really played well from the start in defense, service, and passing. They got the momentum first so we were pressured and we weren’t able to play our game right away,” said NU coach Norman Miguel in Filipino. “I’m still thankful because my players showed their maturity. I told them to play their hearts out for us to get this first game.”
NU tries to clinch the title in Game 2 on Saturday at 5 p.m. while UST tries to force a rubber match in its first preseason finals appearance in four years.
“We’ll do our best to get the title in Game 2 regardless of how many sets. I’m sure UST will fight back because they are well-motivated this finals. We have to work hard. We’ll get this opportunity to end the series,” said Miguel.
Lams Lamina was hailed as the Player of the Game as Erin Pangilinan chipped in 10 points, while Panique and Sheena Toring added eight points each.
UST leaned on super rookie Poyos, who led the way with 13 points, while Jurado and Perdido contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively.