NATIONAL University started the round-robin quarterfinals with a 25-21, 29-27, 25-13 victory over shorthanded University of Santo Tomas on Monday in the Shakey's V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the Philsports Arena.
Jaja Santiago led the way with 15 points, while Jorelle Singh had 14 points and Aiko Urdas added 11 for NU.
“Malaking pang-boost ng morale ’to kasi galing kami sa talo so maganda na ’to para maka-recover ang mga bata,” said NU assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad.
The Lady Bulldogs, coming off a straight-sets loss to Ateneo, proved too strong for the UST side missing EJ Laure and Sisi Rondina, who are in Thailand with Super Liga club Foton for a series of matches in preparation for the Asian Club Women's Championship set September 3 to 11.
Mabbayad, calling the shots for NU while head coach Roger Gorayeb is on vacation, admitted it was a little easier playing a shorthanded UST side but said they did not take the Tigresses lightly.
“Sa kabilang banda, oo, kasi syempre alam natin na kulang talaga ’yung UST dahil dalawa sa key players nila ang wala eh kahit papano advantage na rin ‘yun,” he said.
“Pero kahit papano lumaro naman ng maayos ’yung mga bata ng UST so hindi rin pwedeng magrelax kahit sino ang kalaban,” he added.
The Tigresses scored nine unanswered points to tie the score at 21-21 in the second set but the Lady Bulldogs recovered, with Urdas and Santiago coming up with back-to-back kills to seal the set.
“Happy naman, happy naman ako sa nilaro ng mga players pero syempre kung masa-satisfy tayo wala na tayong mai-improve pa. Marami pa rin kaming dapat i-improve,” he said.
UST high school star and guest player Eya Laure led the Tigresses with 15 points, all from spikes.