MANILA, Philippines-National University exacted sweet revenge on University of Santo Tomas with a 25-16, 25-21, 17-25, 25-14 win on Wednesday, amplifying a probable twice-to-beat opportunity in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
Alyssa Solomon was in her elements all game long, scattering 17 points highlighted by 15 attacks while Bella Belen and Evangeline Alinsug had 16 and 10 points each as the Lady Bulldogs came closer to sealing the No. 2 spot with their 10th victory out of 13 games .
“We’re happy to properly execute the things that we’ve trained for. One more win and we will earn the twice-to-beat,” said Belen after the defending champions avenged their first-round setback against the Tigresses.
The Lady Bulldogs, whose defeat to UST ended a 20-game win streak that spanned three seasons, can seal their twice-to-beat protection in the semifinals with a victory in their final game of the eliminations opposite the Ateneo Blue Eagles (4- 9) on Saturday.
“I saw how we played out there and we were able to correct ourselves in terms of blocking and service,” said Solomon.
Eya Laure led the Tigresses with 17 points while middle blocker Imee Hernandez contributed 14 points and four blocks in their fourth loss out of 13 games that pushed them back in a tie with the Adamson Lady Falcons.
The Tigresses will face the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons on Sunday while the Lady Falcons are scheduled to meet the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in their final assignments to determine the seedings in the Final Four.
Errors hounded the Tigresses in the first set that the Lady Bulldogs quickly exploited coupled by efficient blocking and defense on their end.
Laure’s crosscourt strike pulled them within three before the Tigresses fell into an array of blunders that widened the gap, 22-13, courtesy of a Belen block on Jonna Perdido, whose service error clinched the set for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Tigresses were off to a great start in the second set, but the defending champions again came out more hungry and focused.
Alinsug and Solomon punctured holes into the UST defense as the Lady Bulldogs wiped out a four-point deficit and turned it to a 23-20 lead on an energetic down-the-line drive by Belen and Alinsug’s push.
Laure deflected Alinsug’s attack in the next sequence, but Alinsug surprised the Tigresses with an unexpected tip-in before May Pangilinan denied Perdido’s power smash at set point.
The Tigresses turned the tables on NU in the third set with Kecelyn Galdones backstopping Imee Hernandez, Regina Jurado and Laure in shelling their rivals.
Galdones’ block on Solomon followed by a down-the-line hit put UST way ahead, 14-6, an advantage that grew further to a 10-point spread on Laure’s powerful assault.
They allowed the Lady Bulldogs to rally with Alinsug and Solomon scoring on a string of attacks, but the Tigresses were hardly threatened.
Myrtle Escanlar’s smash went out of bounds and her attack error on the ensuing play rewarded UST the set and kept the Tigresses alive.
The Lady Bulldogs regrouped and altered the narrative in the next set with timely air strikes from Ces Robles, Solomon and Belen as the Tigresses wasted the sudden shift in momentum.
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