NU takes down Ateneo in 5 sets, claims semis bonus

By Ardyn Gonzales

The defending champions will enter the semifinals of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournment with the twice-to-beat advantage after defeating the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, 21-25, 28-30, 25-14, 25-13, 15-13, Saturday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre. 

NU finished the elimination round at second spot with an 11-3 record. 

After a 0-2 deficit, the Lady Bulldogs quickly turned things around in the third and fourth frames, forcing a rubber set with their usual dominating performance. They maintained a double-digit lead in the third and fourth behind the plays of Mhicaela Belen, Cess Robles, and Alyssa Solomon. 

Ateneo put up another fight in the fifth, forcing a series of deadlocks until the crucial part of the sets. Tied 12-all, Belen scored one with a deep crosscourt followed by an attack error from Faith Nisperos to reach match point. 

AC Miner saved one with a runner, but Belen came up with another well-places shot to complete the come-from-behind victory. 

Mhicaela Belen displayed an MVP triple-double output with 26 points on 25 team-high attacks, 15 excellent digs, and 19 excellent receptions. Alyssa Solomon was not far behind with 25 markers as all the other three spikers of NU also finished with double-digit scores. 

Vanie Gandler led Ateneo with 20 points in her last game with the Lady Eagles, while Faith Nisperos had 17. Nisperos has yet to announce whether she will still play next season for Ateneo or she will go professional. 

The defending champions will wait for the remaining games of Adamson and UST to know which team will be their opponent in the Final Four. 

Featured image courtesy of UAAP

Follow the writer on Twitter: @sardynas

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