Posted Feb 16th 2014
NU sweeps Ateneo in opener
By Josiah Albelda Posted Dec 1st 2013
National University left Ateneo de Manila University biting the dust in a sweep to open the 76th UAAP women's volleyball tournament before a huge crowd on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs flexed just enough muscles to overpower the rookie-laden Lady Eagles, 25-17, 25-22, 25-17 and begin their tough climb to the top in the country's premiere collegiate volleyball league.
Skipper Dindin Santiago, in her final playing year, showed why NU is considered as a top contender this year, firing 18 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs in their conquest of the Season 75 finalists.
The older of the Santiago sisters delivered 14 kills, three aces and a block even as rookie sister Jaja and Myla Pablo added eight markers apiece for NU.
"This is just the start of our journey," said rookie coach Edjet Mabbayad. "Marami pa kaming kailangan ayusin, lalo na sa service receive namin."
If the Lady Bulldogs still have a lot to fix, Ateneo should be thinking a lot about their chances, too, following this error-filled debut.
The Lady Eagles committed 27 errors and faded late in sets after battling NU toe-to-toe.
Alyssa Valdez paced Ateneo with 16 points, but the crowd favorites could not get any consistent support as they struggled with life without their Fab Five.
Amy Amohiro added eight points while rookies Michelle Morente and Ana Gopico opened their collegiate careers by combining for 10 markers.
Freshman Julia Morado also had a solid debut, completing 27 excellent sets for the Lady Eagles.