DEFENDING champion National University stood firm in the face of adversity, beating University of Santo Tomas, 25-16, 25-21, 17-25, 25-14, in the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.
Alyssa Solomon held the fort for the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points on 15 attacks and two blocks as NU moved a win away from securing the No. 2 seed and twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
At 10-3 (win-loss), the reigning champions can clinch the second seed with a win against also-ran Ateneo on Saturday.
"Kanina sinabi po ng coaches na nagmamadali kami and nag-reflect 'yun sa result [ng Set 3]," said Solomon. "Kaya nung fourth set, sinigurado po namin na magiging mas relaxed kami para ma-execute 'yung game plan."
Rookie MVP Bella Belen also had a strong 16-point outing for NU, which also got 10 points from Vange Alinsug.
Eya Laure and Imee Hernandez combined for 31 points for the 9-4 Tigresses, who slipped to fourth place behind Adamson by virtue of sets ratio (NU: 2.462; Adamson: 2.000; UST: 1.722) ahead of the final prelims playdate this weekend.
The Tigresses, however, can still clinch the second seed with a win over the UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday and an NU loss to the Blue Eagles.