Gritty NU Lady Bulldogs clip Ateneo Lady Eagles' wings to win Shakeys V-League title
Jaja Santiago and the Lady Bulldogs celebrate after winning a crucial point. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL University repeated its feat of two years ago as it bested Ateneo, 25-21, 26-24, 25-19, to bag the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Sunday.

Myla Pablo delivered 15 points while Santiago sisters Dindin and Jaja each had 11 and 10 points, respectively, as the NU Lady Bulldogs took a best-of-three title series that went the distance.

It was a sweet repeat for the Lady Bulldogs, who outlasted the Lady Eagles, 25-23, 25-19, 17-24, 26-24, in the title match of the V-League Season 10 at Philsports Arena.

Alyssa Valdez had 14 points for Ateneo, while Bea de Leon added 10.

The Lady Bulldogs lost in the series opener but swept the next two games en route to the title, mirroring its success in V-League Season 10 when NU was still under Edjet Mabbayad and Ateneo was under Roger Gorayeb.

Myla Pablo stepped out of the Santiago sisters' shadow to earn MVP honors after a match that took an hour and 27 minutes to finish before a crowd of 4,852 fans.

Gorayeb was quick to deflect the credit.

“Wala, hindi naman ako ang gumawa eh ‘yang mga batang ‘yan sila naman. Wala naman silang ginawa kundi sundin ‘yung iniutos ko sa ensayo eh,” Gorayeb said.

“Pero sabi ko nga sa kanila kanina itong larong ito i-dedicate niyo ‘yan para sa sarili niyo, sa lahat ng efforts niyo.”

“Nabigay na natin sa eskwelahan ‘yung gusto nila, nadala natin sila sa finals, naging karangalan na ng pamilya ninyo na napapanood kayo sa TV, itong araw na ito ay para sa inyo walang makakauha nito sa inyo,” he added.

The Lady Bulldogs broke loose from a 10-10 contest with a commanding 9-2 run in the third set.

Ateneo committed untimely errors as NU reached match point, 24-17. The Lady Eagles saved two match points  on a Jasmine Nabor service error and an Amy Ahomiro hit, but Bea de Leon’s service error hand the Lady Bulldogs the win.

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It was the second successive league title for Gorayeb, who also won the V-League Open Conference with a PLDT Home Ultera team led by Santiago and Alyssa Valdez.

“What a feeling,” said the outspoken coach. “Basta masaya, basta manalo lang ang team ko kasi ang araw na ito para sa player hindi sa coach.”

“Sinabi ko sa kanila ‘yan, ang mga coaches sa ganitong pagkakataon wala na kaming silbi sa ganyan, kayo ang magiging resulta (ng laro), kung gagalaw kayo ng maganda magre-reflect din sa amin ‘yan eh,” he added.

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