National U, finding its old form, pounds Adamson – rezal404
National University’s (NU) conquest of Adamson was a moral-mending moment for the defending champions. But Bella Belen said the team is hungry for more of the same performance going into the culminating stretch of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball elimination round.
“This win will certainly boost our confidence. We played our most polished game so far since the first round,” said Belen after the Lady Bulldogs prevailed with plenty to spare over the Lady Falcons, 26-24, 25-16, 25-22, on Wednesday at Filoil EcoOil Centre.
“But we shouldn’t be happy. We have to continue looking at improving ourselves by minimizing our errors and playing with consistency,” added last season’s rookie-Most Valuable Player.
The ruthless outside hitter bombarded Adamson with 20 points, 18 of them high-octane attacks, as National U notched a second straight victory, the team’s seventh overall in 10 games following a long break. Before those twin victories, NU’s title defense—and its confidence—was in crisis following back-to-back losses to tournament leader La Salle in a span of four days.
With four more games to close out the second round—against Far Eastern University, University of the East, Ateneo and title contender University of Santo Tomas (UST)—the Lady Bulldogs are bracing for a wild finish in the race to the Final Four after finding themselves locked in a three-way tie with UST and Adamson at second place.
“It’s up to us to discipline ourselves every time we play,” said Belen after drawing support from Alyssa Solomon and Evangeline Alinsug, who combined for 21 points and five blocks.
Setter Camilla Lamina was likewise easily one of the bright spots for NU after she choreographed their fluid offense with 15 of her team’s 16 excellent sets.
The win was a far cry from how the Lady Bulldogs were dragged to five sets by the Lady Falcons in the first round before squeezing out a win.
“We always look back at our previous losses and use them as motivation. It makes us fully aware that we should continue building not only individually, but as a team,” said Lamina.
Both engaged in a back-and-forth skirmish throughout the first set, with Sheena Toring’s push leveling the count for the last time at 24 prior to the breaks that NU essentially needed.
Princess Robles uncorked a thundering cross and Rizza Cruz’s miscalculated tip-in dropped to the sideline, throwing Adamson off the edge and enabling the Lady Bulldogs to seal the opening frame.
The end came quicker for the Lady Falcons in the second set as the Lady Bulldogs were in total command after breaking free from a tight contest at the onset. Adamson found no answer against the blitz by Solomon, Toring and Belen, whose crunching cross and silky push made it 24-16 before Myrtle Escanlar detonated another crosscourt bomb.
The Lady Falcons put up a staunch front one last time in the third, but were smothered time and again by the Lady Bulldogs, who got going with the continuous shelling of Belen and Robles.
“Our chemistry is very important. Again, we just stuck to the strategy that our coaches laid out and trusted each other,” said Lamina.
In the earlier match, Ateneo swept University of the Philippines, 25-20, 25-17, 25-22, behind the 17 points of Faith Nisperos.
“We needed this win if we want to go further. We must possess a mindset of being committed each game,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.
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