NU Lady Bulldogs put FEU Tamaraws on the brink with big win in Game One of semis
Jaj Santiago and the rest of the NU Lady Bulldogs are just a win away from making the Shakey's V-League Finals. Czeasar Dancel

NATIONAL University is one step closer to the Finals after a, 25-15, 25-22, 25-27, 25-23, beating of defending champion Far Eastern University on the Game One of the best-of-three semifinals series of Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.

Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo teamed up for NU for a combined 37 points, while skipper Jorelle Singh added 11 markers.

The 6-foot-4 middle blocker had 17 spikes and two blocks, while Pablo anchored her attacks on 16 hits in a match that took almost two hours to finish.

NU needs one more win to advance to the championship but Lady Bulldogs coach Roger Gorayeb  is not yet in the mood to celebrate their 1-0 lead.

“Syempre mahirap magtiwala ano,” said the veteran mentor. “FEU is FEU, kahit anong laro ngayon nangyari nanalo kami ‘di pa rin kami pwede magtiwala.”

“Syempre nirerespeto namin kakayanan nila,” added Gorayeb, whose squad will face the Lady Tamaraws on Sunday. “’Di naman sila aabot si top four kung ano lang sila. May dalawa silang guest player advantage lang kami going to bukas.”

Game Two is on Sunday.

NU built a comfortable 16-10 lead in the fourth set, but FEU guest player Jovelyn Gonzaga led back the Lady Tamaraws to grab the lead, 19-18.

The Lady Bulldogs broke from a 22-22 contest and pushed themselves at match point, 24-22, but FEU reinforcement Honey Tubino made it 23-24, before a Santiago block on Tubino sealed the win for NU.

“The usual, biruin mo, lamang kami 16-10 tapos ang dami naming error pati si Jaja pumapalo siya yung tuma-touch net,” said Gorayeb. “Kagandahan lang, lamang ka nakahabol sila lumamang pa ng isa pero buti naka recover kami agad, hindi kami nalamangan ng dalawa naka lamang sila ng isa na-all namin.”

Bernadeth Pons finished with 16 points for FEU, while Toni Basas added 12 and Gonzaga with 11.

FEU committed 36 errors compared to the 31 of NU.

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