May 29, 2024

UAAP: Lady Bulldogs dodge a bullet, NU survives Ateneo in five-set thriller for first win in Season 86

UAAP: Lady Bulldogs dodge a bullet, NU survives Ateneo in five-set thriller for first win in Season 86
Bella Belen posts an outstanding performance for the NU Lady Bulldogs as they bounce back from an opening game loss in the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24. Photo (c) UAAP

National University recovered from a two-set blip as it survived Ateneo, 25-17, 24-26, 26-28, 25-19, 15-7, in the UAAP season 86 women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The Lady Bulldogs surrendered the second and third sets but toughened up from there to frustrate the Blue Eagles and secure the bounce-back victory after dropping to the University of Santo Tomas in straights in their opening match.

Bella Belen was a force on both ends for NU, dropping 21 points while also being efficient on defense with her 24 excellent digs and 10 excellent receptions.

Vange Alinsug also turned in double-digit numbers for the Lady Bulldogs with her 19 markers all on attacks while Chams Maaya swatted five blocks in her nine-point showing.

Sophia Buena led three other ADMU hitters in double figures with 15 points.

Belen delivered for the Lady Bulldogs when it mattered most, pouring in the numbers in the fourth and fifth sets to turn the tables on their foe.

Belen teamed up with Maaya in the fourth to force the decider, then immediately fired three points in the final frame to jumpstart NU's early 8-3 breakaway.

Alinsug took over from there as the Lady Bulldogs kept the Blue Eagles at bay this time and sealed the win.

NU actually came out blazing to take the opening frame but stumbled upon a regrouped ADMU side which went on to take the second on an attack by Lyann De Guzman and an AC Miner ace.

The gritty Blue Eagles once again displayed composure in the final stretch of the third as Yvana Sulit and Buena stepped up with back-to-back hits to secure the frame.

But NU recovered just in time to up its card to 1-1 for joint third place with Adamson, University of the East and Far Eastern U.

ADMU joined University of the Philippines at the bottom of the standings at 0-2.