NU Lady Bulldogs pummel UST Golden Tigresses in finals opener

Super Rookie Angge Poyos suffers right ankle injury
Photo by Jianzen Deananeas/ THE FLAME

FINALS EXPERIENCE proved decisive for the NU Lady Bulldogs as it chomped the rookie-laden UST Golden Tigresses in the first game of the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball championship at the SMART Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

Entering finals territory in three straight years, the Lady Bulldogs made easy work of the young-blooded Tigresses in straight sets, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20, to take a commanding 1-0 edge in the best-of-three finals series.

The “Battle of Sampaloc” commenced with the Lady Bulldogs taking a 6-0 lead, capped off by a quick attack from NU captain and middle blocker Erin Pangilinan.

The Tigresses regrouped midway through the opening set, going on an 8-1 run initiated and finished off by lefty hitter Jonna Perdido to tighten things up, 18-17.

However, NU’s power spiker Vange Alinsug scored back-to-back kills to take the first frame, 25-23.

The second salvo saw a crucial turning point, with both squads going on an 11-all deadlock. UST rising star Angge Poyos had to be helped off the court after landing awkwardly on her teammate Em Banagua. UST has yet to release an update on Poyo’s ankle injury as of posting time.

The Lady Bulldogs then exploited the weakened firepower of the Tigresses by being in the driver’s seat all the way to a 25-20 second set win.

Down two sets to none, UST struggled to gear it up as NU remained dominant in the final set. 

At match-point, UST hitter Pierre Abellana converted an off-the-block hit to breathe some life into the Tigresses. But the Lady Bulldogs were just too much to dog out as an emphatic Alinsug kill sealed the win for her team, 25-20.

“We lost the celebration after scoring every other point… The spotlight, the crowd doubled,” UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes said post-game.

“We played too stiff… We need to get back their rhythm.”

The lefty spikers of the España-based squad handled the scoring load. Perdido scored 17 points while opposite spiker Reg Jurado added 10 markers. Poyos only managed to chip in seven kills.

NU had four players in double-digits, led by opposite hitter Alyssa Solomon, with 15 kills and three blocks. Lady Bulldogs Bella Belen, Alinsug and Sheena Toring added 13, 12 and 10 points respectively.

The Golden Tigresses will try to force a rubber match against the Lady Bulldogs on May 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena. F

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