NATIONAL University marched its way back to the Finals of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference after it survived a feisty Arellano University, 25-17, 26-28, 17-25, 25-13, 20-18, in Game Two of the best-of-three semifinals on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
Skipper Jaja Santiago poured in 28 points for the back-to-back defending champions, who swept the NCAA reigning titlist after taking the series opener on Wednesday.
Game One of the best-of-three Finals is on Wednesday next week and NU will face the winner between Adamson University and Far Eastern University, which will play the do-or-die semis match on Monday.
“I owe it to the girls to really do my job properly and bring them to the Finals,” said NU coach Babes Castillo, who took over last June.
“I’m very, very happy that they responded well. I like how Jaja is leading the team inside and outside of the court,” he added.
But before the Lady Bulldogs celebrated on the court, they had to overcome six match points after they trailed, 10-14, in the fifth set.
NU countered with a 5-0 spurt to take the lead, 15-14, before a see-saw battle that resulted to a tied 17-all contest.
The Lady Chiefs again took the match point, 18-17, after an Andrea Marzan attack but Risa Sato sparked a 3-0 blitz to seal the win for the Lady Bulldogs.
“Sabi ko sa kanila whatever the result, itaas natin ang energy natin, doon tayo mada-judge eh, sa effort natin,” said Castillo.
“So kumalma naman sila connecting together right away na parang, oo nga pala ito ang role ko. So I like how they responded,” he added.
NU setter Jasmine Nabor scored 12 points and registered all but one of the team’s 48 excellent sets, while Sato and Roselyn Doria added nine markers apiece. Jorelle Singh and Princess Robles also chipped in eight points each.
Arellano team captain Jovielyn Prado finished with 20 points, while Nicole Ebuen made 17 and Regine Arocha had 11.
The Lady Chiefs were relegated to the battle for third against the loser between Adamson University and Far Eastern University.