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    National U turns back Adamson to gain finals

    May 19, 2013
    National University's Dindin Santiago and Myla Pablo deny Adamson team captain Pau Soriano. Jerome Ascano  

    NATIONAL University booked its first Shakey's V-League Finals appearance as it turned back Adamson, 24-26, 25-20, 25-15, 25-22, on Sunday in the First Conference of the 10th season at The Arena in San Juan.

    Tied at 22-all in the fourth set, Myla Pablo delivered for the Lady Bulldogs, coming up with three straight points to seal the win in the deciding match of the best-of-three semifinals.

    NU squandered a 20-13 fourth-set advantage after Adamson rallied behind Angela Benting, Pau Soriano and Bhebs Pineda as they poured in seven combined points and capitalized on the Lady Bulldogs' two errors to tie it, 22-all.

    But Pablo's back-to-back points on one block and a kill ended the hopers of Adamson, which took the opening match of the series.

    The Lady Bulldogs will face back-to-back defending champion Ateneo for the title while the Lady Falcons will clash with University of Santo Tomas in the battle for thrid place.

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    "Wala nang bukas, ito na ang turning point namin para sa Finals," said NU coach Edjet Mabbayad. "First time namin sa V-League Finals kaya pagbubutihin namin. Hindi na namin bibitawan."

    After dropping the opening set, NU took control in the second by opening an early seven-point cushion, 15-8, before opening an 24-13 lead on back-to-back service aces by Jaja Santiago.

    "Natuto na sila sa nakaraan (na nag collapse kami sa endgame), 'yun na ang kinapitan nila," said Mabbayad. "Advice namin (coaches) sa kanila na 'wag na nilang bibitawan to (fourth set), 'wag nang pababayaan na bigyan sila ng buhay kasi maaaring tatalunin pa nila tayo sa fifth set."

    Dindin Santiago came away with 24 points for NU, Pablo had 20 and Carmina Aganon chipped in with 11.

    From their 40 and 39 errors in Games One and Two, the Lady Bulldogs limited their miscues to 24 in Game Three and still had more block points (15-11) and service aces than Adamson (5-3).

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    "Usually 30 plus errors kami per game napagtatakpan lang ng opensa," he said.

    But Mabbayad was just happy to see his girls finish the game with maturity.

    "Nagtutulungan na sila," he said. "Sa ganyang sitwasyon nagiging matapang na sila."

    Team captain Soriano had 19 markers for Adamson, while guest player Mylene Paat added 11 and Benting contributed 10, far from her 28-point explosion in Game One.

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    National University's Dindin Santiago and Myla Pablo deny Adamson team captain Pau Soriano. Jerome Ascano  
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