National U Lady Bulldogs erase UP Lady Maroons from playoff picture
Jaja Santiago and the NU Lady Bulldogs come up with a huge morale-boosting win ahead of the stepladder semifinals. Freddie Dionisio

SEMIFINALS third seed National University eliminated University of the Philippines from the playoff picture after an easy, 25-21, 25-16, 25-15, win on Sunday in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

Lady Maroons were looking to force a three-way tie for fourth spot. Instead, University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University were left in joint fourth with identical 6-8 win-loss cards and will battle in a playoff on Wednesday at the MOA Arena for the last place in the stepladder semifinals.

Jaja Santiago scored 17 points, Myla Pablo added 12 and Jorelle Singh had 10 for National U, which had claimed a place in the playoffs with one match to spare but still poured all they’ve got in their final elimination match for an 8-6 record.

NU coach Roger Gorayeb was pleased to see his young team dish out their best game so far since he took over early this year with the team struggling with a 2-3 card.

“Napakaganda ng laro,” said the veteran mentor. “Compared sa mga nakaraang laro, ito ang pinakamaganda.”

“I want to enter the semifinals with a win,” he said. “We have to be in a very confident level.”

“Syempre they are your opponent, UP wants to win and they want to enter that slim chance na pwede sila makapasok sa semifinals.”

Skipper Nicole Tiamzon and rookie Marian Buitre finished with eight points apiece for the Lady Maroons, who ended the season with a 5-9 record.

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