Surging NU survives five-set thriller over FEU to book first semis spot in V-League
NU survived a feisty FEU side in the fifth set to reach the V-League semis. Freddie Dionisio

NATIONAL University marched to the semifinals after surviving a five-set thriller over Far Eastern University, 25-17, 24-26, 14-25, 25-18, 15-11, in the Shakey's V-League Season 13 Collegiate Conference at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday.

Skipper Jaja Santiago led the way with 19 points for NU, which improved to a 3-1 record to book the first semis berth.

NU assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad admitted he was happy with his wards’ performance but insisted he wasn’t satisfied at how the Lady Bulldogs almost let the win slip from their grasp.

“Happy ako sa ginalaw ng mga bata pero syempre not satisfied kasi marami pa ring lapses sa nangyayari. Kita naman kaya nag five sets,” said Mabbayad, who’s filling in for on-leave head coach Roger Gorayeb.

“Nandoon pa rin ang attitude ng mga bata na minsan pag nahahabol nara-rattle. Kailangan pa rin namin baguhin ‘yun. Pero overall naman masaya kami sa resulta ng laro. Syempre panalo eh,” he added.

The Lady Bulldogs put on a 5-2 lead early in the fifth set before they widened the gap, 10-4.

FEU threatened and trimmed the lead, 9-11, after an off the block attack by Heather Guino-o and a Remy Palma regalo.

But NU held on to reach match point, 14-10. Toni Basas scored FEU's last point before Jaja Santiago put on the exclamation point to end the match.

“‘Yung determinasyon nila na manalo, ‘yung willingness nila, nakikita namin. Kaya naging masaya ako kahit papano,” said Mabbayad.

“Kasi nakita ko ang ano nila eh ‘yung kapit, ‘yung pagpupursige nila kahit lumalamang ang kalaban, hindi sila basta bumibitaw. Although nangyari noong previous set, pero naka-recover agad, ‘yun naman ang maganda doon,” he added.

Aiko Urdas finished with 15 points, while Jorelle Singh chipped in 12 for NU, which snapped FEU’s four-game winning streak dating back to the group stage elimination round.

Basas came through with 21 markers for the Lady Tamaraws, while Palma added 14 and Bernadeth Pons contributed 12.

FEU dropped to 2-1, tied with San Sebastian College.

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