Lady Bulldogs shoot for 3rd straight victory

‘We have to perform well against FEU before we think of La Salle.’

Alyssa Solomon provides plenty of firepower for National University in their clash today with Far Eastern University in UAAP women’s volleyball. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UAAP

Games today:
(FilOil EcoOil Centre)
9 a.m. — UE vs UST (m)
11 a.m. — UE vs UST (w)
3 p.m. — FEU vs NU (w)
5 p.m. — FEU vs NU (m)

Defending champion National University guns for its third straight win and a solo hold of the second spot against Far Eastern University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament today at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

The Lady Bulldogs have regained their confidence after seeing their 20-game winning run that spanned three years snapped by University of Santo Tomas two weeks ago with back-to-back victories, including an emphatic sweep of University of the East last Saturday.

NU hopes to score another convincing win in the 3 p.m. match to build momentum heading into its much-anticipated finals rematch against unbeaten De La Salle University on 22 March.

But head coach Karl Dimaculangan wants his wards to focus first on the current task at hand before setting their eyes on the surging Lady Spikers.

“I’ve already talked to the team that we have to take it one game at time, especially with the first round coming to a close,” the Lady Bulldogs mentor said. “We have to perform well against FEU before we think of La Salle.”

“We have to prepare well because we’re facing two tough teams to end the first round.”

NU currently shares the second to third spots with Adamson University sporting identical 4-1 win-loss slates behind La Salle (5-0).

Dimaculangan will rely on reigning Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Bella Belen, who rediscovered her fine form after a scoreless outing in a four-set win over University of the Philippines with a 13-point performance in NU’s 25-23, 25-9, 25-12 win over UE.

Aside from Belen, Dimaculangan can also count on Alyssa Solomon, Sheena Toring, Ces Robles, Lams Lamina and graduating libero Jen Nierva.

Despite the odds, Lady Tamaraws head coach Tina Salak believes her wards could pull off a surprise.

Carrying a 3-3 record, FEU seeks to end the first round on a positive note.

“We’ve already exceeded expectations of achieving three wins. But since we have three wins, why not work for more? Let’s put a little spice into it,” the first-year coach said as the Lady Tamaraws looked ready to contend for a Final Four seat after a dismal 1-13 finish last season.

FEU beat UE in five sets, 25-19, 18-25, 25-12, 22-25, 15-5, last Wednesday behind the personal-best 23 and 22 points of Chenie Tagaod and Jov Fernanadez, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Tigresses shoot to end the first round with a three-game win run when it takes on the Lady Warriors at 11 a.m.

UST is at solo fourth holding a 4-2 card and is coming off a 25-19, 25-23, 25-14, crushing of skidding Ateneo de Manila University.

UE is winless in six outings.

In men’s play, the three-peat-seeking Bulldogs put their unblemished record on the line in a finals rematch against the Tamaraws at 5 p.m. while the Tigers try to keep their hold of the second spot against the Red Warriors in their 9 a.m. encounter.

NU leads the standings with an immaculate 5-0 card ahead of FEU and UST, which share 5-1 slates. UE parades a 2-4 mark.

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