National University recovered from a shaky start and repulsed a fighting Southwestern University side, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-17, to remain in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth in the ninth Shakey’s V-League Presented by SMART heats up at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.
Din-din Santiago fired 31 hits, including 25 kills, as she spearheaded the Lady Bulldogs’ fightback in the last three frames to pull off the one-hour, 41-minute victory and snap their back-to-back setbacks.
More importantly, the win put NU back on track for a crack at a quarters slot in Group A while dealing SWU its second straight loss in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
“They were a bit overconfident, but settled down after dropping the opening set,” said NU coach Francis Vicente, whose wards committed 34 faults, in Filipino. “I told them to be ready for a big SWU comeback since it also dropped its first game.”
Maricar Nepomuceno, Rizza Mandapat and Myla Pablo backed Santiago with a combined 31-hit effort while Ivy Perez kept the team’s offense going with 30 excellent sets.
NU came away with 50 kills to overpower SWU, which could only churn out a 33-spike production, including 13 from Danika Gendrauli and 10 from Anne Pido, in the event organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
The Lady Bulldogs struggled in the early going and fell behind, 10-18, as SWU’s guest player Genie Sabas checked Santiago with a solid net defense.
Gendrauli closed out the set at 25-20 with a drop shot.
Santiago, however, reasserted her might in the second frame, pouring in 10 hits as the NU prevailed behind a 9-2 exchange, capped by Pablo’s two blocks.
It was more of the same in the next two sets with the Lady Bulldogs sustaining their fine start then holding off the Cobras’ comebacks.
In the second game, University of St. La Salle checked an impending skid with a gritty stand in the decider as it hacked out a 25-17, 25-19, 23-25, 14-25, 15-10 victory to boost its quarterfinal bid in Group B.
Jovelyn Gonzaga delivered two crucial spikes in the fifth set while Patty Orendain came through with two blocks to frustrate the Lady Knights and even their card at 1-1.
Letran fell to 0-3 and bowed out of the race.