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NU pulls off grueling win over Adamson

By Josiah Albelda Posted Jan 12th 2014

National University rallied from a set down to beat Adamson University for the Lady Bulldogs' fourth straight win.

Grueling would be an understatement.

National University labored through a hard-earned four-set win over Adamson University in the 76th UAAP women's volleyball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Lady Bulldogs needed more than two hours to dispatch the Lady Falcons, 26-28, 25-21, 30-28, 25-20 to notch their fourth straight win and end the first round with a 6-1 record.

With top dog Dindin Santiago hobbling, the Sampaloc spikers leaned on a total team effort to repulse a spirited challenge by Adamson and end the first half of the tournament at least tied for second place.

Santiago, who was visibly not 100% healthy, struggled for 12 points, but her younger sister Jaja and veteran Mina Aganon stepped up for the Lady Bulldogs in a match that showed no team giving up.

Aganon fired a team-high 15 points and anchored NU in a third set that lasted almost 40 minutes while Jaja had 14 markers off 10 hits and four blocks, her middle incursions proving to be unstoppable.

Aiko Urdas and Myla Pablo each posted 13 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who nailed 62 kills to the Lady Falcons' paltry 43.

Adamson looked to be ready to pull an upset off from the get-go, racing to an 18-12 lead midway through the first set as NU committed error after error.

But the Lady Bulldogs rallied to tie it at 23-all after an Urdas attack to make things more interesting.

The Lady Falcons, however, would not be denied as Mylene Paat, Bhebs Pineda and May Macatuno each chipped in to notch the set for the San Marcelino spikers, 28-26.

NU started shaky in the second set, with setter Ivy Perez committing back-to-back errors as Adamson zoomed to a 6-3 lead.

The Lady Bulldogs refused to roll over and die, and after a Paat attack giving the Lady Falcons a 19-16 advantage, NU dropped a 9-2 bomb to snatch the second set, 25-21.

It was the Lady Bulldogs' turn to start strong in the third frame, rushing out of the gates with an 8-3 burst behind Aganon and Santiago.

The Lady Falcons quickly got themselves back into the thick of the fight and engaged NU in a nip-and-tuck affair that finally ended with a denial on Mandy Villanueva, 30-28.

Adamson did not quite recover from that meltdown, as back-to-back hits by Pablo and Jaja shoved them ahead at 20-14 and never looked back.

Pineda led all scorers with 24 points and 10 digs, Villanueva had 14 markers and Paat had four blocks and two aces to finish with eight points for the Lady Falcons, who fell to 3-3.