NATIONAL University took the solo lead in Group B after an easy win over San Sebastian College, 25-22, 29-27, 25-21, in the Shakey's V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday.
Jaja Santiago imposed her might all throughout the game with 27 points, from 20 kills, four blocks and three service aces, for the Lady Bulldogs, who took just an hour and 28 minutes to dispose the SSC belles.
“Syempre hindi rin naman kami pwedeng mag-kumpyansa talaga. Alam naman natin Baste champion team din ‘yan, experienced team din sila, hindi kami pwede mag-relax talaga,” said NU assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad, who called the shots as head coach Roger Gorayeb is on vacation.
The Lady Bulldogs were down, 6-12, in the third set but rallied to tie the contest at 20-all, before NU broke loose to reach match point, 24-20. SSC saved the match point before Santiago's over the blockers attack sealed the win for the Lady Bulldogs, who are on top of the standings (2-0).
Both UAAP powerhouse NU and NCAA many-time champion SSC are handled by Gorayebm which is why Mabbayad felt that the players’ performance spelled the difference although both teams had the same system.
“Siguro ‘yun nga ‘yung training halos pareho din (pero) kasi ‘yung ganyang sitwasyon, nakadepende rin sa players ‘yan kung ano ang igagalaw nila,” said Mabbayad.
“Same training (with Baste) pero on the court sila na ‘yan kasi kami (coaches) naga-guide lang naman sa kanila kung ano ang kailangan nilang gawin, sila pa rin ‘yan ang decision making sila pa rin ang gagawa kasi sila ang naglalaro,” he added.
Gretchel Soltones, who made 20 points in their straight-set win over University of Perpetual Help on the opening day, finished with 12 markers, from 11 hits, and 12 excellent receptions.
Mabbayad stressed that it was their game plan to target Soltones from the service line to distract her game and limit her offense.
“‘Yung isang game plan namin, targetin namin si Gretch from service kasi para kumbaga ‘yung game niya is para ma-distract and ‘yun nakita naman natin naging ok naman siya kasi hindi masyadong naka-atake si Gretch dahil siya din nagre-receive. Nahirapan din sila,” he said.
Katherine Villegas and Denice Lim each had 12 points for SSC, which dropped to 1-1.