ARELLANO simply couldn't solve the puzzle that is Jaja Santiago of National University.
With Santiago leading the attack, the Lady Bulldogs battered Arellano on all fronts on the way to a 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 victory in Game One of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference semifinals on Wednesday.
Santiago was unstoppable on both ends, finishing with game-high 24 points, including three blocks and three service aces.
Arellano coach Obet Javier offered no excuses after the match, saying the 6-foot-5 spiker was too much for the Lady Chiefs.
"Di namin naresolbahan si Jaja eh, yun lang," Javier said after the match at the Filoil Flying V Centre. "Yung team ko medyo na-intimidate kay Jaja pero sabi ko nga lahat naman yan makukuha sa practice," he added.
Indeed, Arellano struggled to break through the defense of the towering Santiago, with no Lady Chief finishing in double figures.
Regine Arocha had eight points, while Jovie Prado was limited to just four markers.
Javier said they are leaving no stones unturned in finding a way to beat NU in time for Game Two of the best-of-three series on Saturday.
"Siguro dahil katapat nila ay UAAP team, pero okay lang, at least nakita namin ang mga kakulangan namin today," he said.