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    NU Lady Bulldog coach declines favorites' label

    May 12, 2013
    NU's Dindin Santiago leads local players in points scored in the First Conference. Jerome Ascano

    DESPITE boasting of the best record from the elims to the quarters and a crew that has lorded it over the field, National University remains wary of its chances heading to Tuesday’s start of the Final Four in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10.

    In fact, NU coach Edjet Mabbayad ranks his team in the same level as fellow semifinalists Ateneo, Adamson, and University of Santo Tomas.

    "They keep saying we're the favorites but I think we're not … we're as good as any team out there," said Mabbayad, a member of the FEU squad that dominated the UAAP from 2004-07.

    "When you go out there, it’s a fair game because the ball is round and anything can happen," he added.

    But numbers don’t lie. The Lady Bulldogs swept their four elims matches and three quarterfinal outings to emerge the lone unbeaten squad going to the Final Four of the league’s First Conference sponsored by Shakey’s.

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    NU also boasts of Dindin Santiago, the league's top scorer next to Thai Jaroensri Bualee, and best server, Mylene Paat (best blocker), Jennylyn Reyes (best digger and receiver), and Ruby de Leon (best setter).

    Still, Mabbayad insists that these do not guarantee a win for the Lady Bulldogs.

    "It's nice that my players are leading those categories but all these will be nothing if we can't show discipline, hard work and focus in the Final Four," said Mabbayad. "The past will not matter now, it's what we do in the Final Four that will."

    The Lady Bulldogs will take on the Lady Falcons while the defending back-to-back champions Lady Eagles will square off with the Tigresses in a pair of blockbuster best-of-three series backed by Mikasa and Accel.

    Meanwhile, Tuesday’s start of the best-of-three series will be held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig while the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay will host the second game on Thursday.

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    A third game, if necessary, will be played at Philsports on May 19, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

    The MOA Arena will host the first two games of the finals on May 23 and 26 with the decider, if necessary, slated at the Philsports on June 2.

    Games One and Two of the Finals will start at 1 p.m. and will be telecast live on GMA News TV Channel 11.

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    NU's Dindin Santiago leads local players in points scored in the First Conference. Jerome Ascano
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