May 29, 2024

UAAP: Alyssa Solomon, Bella Belen deliver NU's 2nd title in 3 years after outlasting UST in Game 2

UAAP: Alyssa Solomon, Bella Belen deliver NU
Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen powered the NU Lady Bulldogs past the UST Golden Tigresses in Game 2. | Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

National University is back on the mountaintop after outlasting the University of Santo Tomas in a tight four-set victory, 25-23, 23-25, 27-25, 25-16, in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball Finals on Wednesday, May 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The victory marked the second championship for the Lady Bulldogs in three years, as the core group led by now two-time MVP Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon help establish NU as a modern UAAP power.

Solomon, who was named Finals MVP, and Season 86 MVP Belen showed their championship form as they combined for 46 points. Solomon had 27 points on 19 attacks, four blocks, and three service aces, while Belen added 19 markers.

At the start of the game, UST gambled on the still-recovering Angge Poyos, who went down with a right ankle injury in Game 1.

[ALSO READ: UAAP: Rookie of the Year Angge Poyos starts must-win Game 2 for UST Golden Tigresses]

Though able to deliver some points for the Golden Tigresses, the Season 86 Rookie of the Year struggled with her lateral movement, being subbed out later in favor of Xyza Gula.

Down by four points in the opening, UST rallied to tie the game at 20-all and then even took the lead on a couple of occassions. But Solomon made sure to close the set out after scoring NU's last three points to secure the set 1 victory.

In the second set, Gula came alive for the Golden Tigresses as she scored nine points, including the set-winning point.

UST looked poised to take the third set after leading for most of the frame. However, slowly but surely, NU chipped at the deficit and managed to tie the game to force an extended set.

Gula's power tip gave the Golden Tigresses the lead at 26-25, but Belen delivered back-to-back hits to give the Lady Bulldogs the advantage, before Sheena Toring sealed the set after a kill block on Gula.

Riding on that momentum, NU came out guns blazing for a 9-4 lead in the decisive fourth, which they only continued to pour on the reeling UST squad.

Up 22-16, Belen and Toring put the title-winning touches after the Season 86 MVP smartly tipped the ball over the Golden Tigresses' blockers and delivered a cross-court kill which just hit the line.

Toring's attack from the middle then scraped a UST blocker which sealed the 4th overall title for the Lady Bulldogs.

Vange Alinsug and Toring added 12 and eight points, respectively, in the victory.

Gula, on the other hand, led UST with 18 points. Jonna Perdido had 14 markers, while Regina Jurado and Em Banagua added 12 apiece.