UAAP volleyball: NU bounces back with 5-set win over Ateneo

UAAP volleyball: NU bounces back with 5-set win over Ateneo

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 08:56 PM February 24, 2024

NU Lady Bulldogs  UAAP Ateneo

NU Lady Bulldogs celebrate a point aainst the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Far from their desired form, the National University Lady Bulldogs had to scrape past the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 25-17, 24-26, 26-28, 25-19, 15-7, in a marathon first win at the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball.

Bella Belen redeemed herself by compiling 21 points highlighted by 18 attacks apart from 24 digs, 10 receptions and three blocks in an all-around performance that negated a mediocre outing in their season-opening defeat against University of Santo Tomas.


“That defeat motivated us to play better. We are going through a difficult process, but I’m really happy that other players in our team got the opportunity to show their potential,’’ said Belen.


SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball first round

Backstopping Belen, the tournament’s first rookie-MVP in Season 84, was hitter Evangeline Alinsug, who fired 19 attacks, as well as middle blocker Minierva Maaya and Alyssa Solomon.

Camilla Lamina delivered 23 excellent sets, Shaira Mae Jardio contributed 21 digs and 17 reception as the Lady Bulldogs came close to giving up the contest after Ateneo seized control after three sets.

“Our team is just beginning to recover (from a long pre-season activity). We still lack the recovery needed for us to play the way we used to play,’’ said NU coach Miguel Norman.

The Lady Bulldogs won the University Games last month in Dipolog before embarking on a series of practice games against top clubs prior to the start of the season

READ: UAAP volleyball: Ateneo’s long-sleeved jerseys just a one time thing

“It was obvious that we were not yet playing that same way before, but I saw in the fifth set a glimpse of what we’re capable of. We just have to take it slow,’’ said Alinsug.

The Blue Eagles dropped their second match in a row but found another threat in Sophia Buena, who finished with 14 attacks out of 16 points and an ace. Buena has made Ateneo extra competitive with spikers Alexis Miner (14 points) and Lyann De Guzman (11 points and 22 digs).


Geezel Tsunashima was likewise in the groove for the second straight game with 12 points and two blocks while Roma Doromal was efficient with 23 receptions and 17 digs.

NU Lady Bulldogs' Bella Belen

NU Lady Bulldogs’ Bella Belen. –UAAP PHOTO

Maaya, who scored 15 attacks and had five blocks, joined forces with May Pangilinan as the Lady Bulldogs smashed their way to take control early with Lamina’s push to Ateneo’s backend without any warm body to save it sealing the first set in their favor.

The Blue Eagles charged back in the next frame with the veteran De Guzman rallying the extended set in their favor with a couple of attacks and a push before AC Miner aced it at set point.

Ateneo showed its second-set win was no stroke of luck, stretching the wits of the Lady Bulldogs again in the third before back-to-back hits by Sulit and Buena sealed the deal.

But NU refused to go down without a fight, banking on Belen and Alinsug on pummeling the Ateneo side while also relying heavily on Maaya’s blocking that arranged the decider.

Belen and Alinsug took over in the final set, battering the Blue Eagles with successive attacks that built an 8-3 advantage for the Lady Bulldogs.

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While the Blue Eagles tried to figure out what struck them, Belen and Alinsug poured on the heat with superb blocking from Ella Panique and Maaya, who deflected De Guzman’s spike at match point.


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