Dindin Santiago, Myla Pablo star as NU Lady Bulldogs get big boost ahead of quarters with big win over FEU Lady Tams
Myla Pablo ends up on top of the analysts' table as she tries to keep the ball in play. Freddie Dionisio

NATIONAL U survived Far Eastern U’s fierce challenge in the first two sets then dominated the third to complete a 25-23, 26-24, 25-19 victory on Saturday and tie its victim at first after the Group A eliminations of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Bulldogs cashed in on the Lady Tams’ poor service reception and came away with six aces while guest player and former star Dindin Santiago-Manabat and mainstay Myla Pablo took turns in hammering in spikes from both sides to help close out the erstwhile unbeaten Lady Tams in one hour and 19 minutes.

NU thus tied FEU at first with 4-1 win-loss cards after the single round eliminations, a big boost for the Lady Bulldogs ahead of the quarterfinal round against the top four teams from Group B led by Ateneo and UST.

Santiago-Manabat wound up with 15 hits, including 14 on kills while Pablo fired 10 attacks on her way to a 13-point game.

Jaja Santiago came away with three blocks for a 10-hit performance, while skipper Jorelle Singh added nine points for the Lady Bulldogs scored a revenge of sort against the team that swept them in last year’s finals.

NU also held FEU’s guest player Jovelyn Gonzaga to seven hits.

Remy Palma had 10 hits but FEU failed to draw double-digit outputs from the rest, with Bernadeth Pons, Rose Basas and Anne Guino-O scoring just three points apiece.

Meanwhile, UST and San Sebastian tangle and St. Benilde battles La Salle-Dasmariñas on Sunday in a pair of crucial matches at the end of the eliminations of the league’s midseason tournament.

With 1-3 cards, the SSC-R and DLSU-D need to hurdle their assignments to force a playoff for the last quarterfinal berth in the event backed by Mikasa and Accel.

SSC-R and UST face off at 12:45 p.m. to be telecast live on GMA News TV Channel 11, while St. Benilde and La Salle-Dasma collide at 5 p.m.

PUP and University of Batangas meet at 3 p.m. in a clash of winless teams in Group A.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph