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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Lady Bulldogs book return trip to Shakey’s finals

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Reigning champion National University drubbed Adamson, 25-13, 26-24, 25-20, and booked a finals return trip in the Shakey’ Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship Season 2 Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

The Lady Bulldogs erased a 22-24 deficit in the second set before banking on a hot start in the clincher to score yet another straight-sets victory and shore up their back-to-back championship bid.

It’s the seventh sweep in a row for the mighty NU squad that needed only 83 minutes to capture the win in the knockout semifinals with skipper Erin May Pangilinan and reigning MVP Alyssa Solomon spearheading the way.

NU will face off against either Far Eastern U or University of Santo Tomas – which were still playing as of press time – in the best-of-three finale of the SSL Season 2 backed by Mikasa, Eurotel, Victory Liner, Summit Bottle Water, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken, R and B Milk Tea, Potato Corner, Rebel Sports, Converge ICT Solutions, Genius Sports and United Auctioneers, Inc.

Pangilinan fired 11 points on seven hits, two blocks and two aces, including a bevy of clutch hits in the pivotal second set while Solomon cashed in 10 points on seven attacks, two blocks and an ace.

Former UAAP Rookie-MVP Mhicaela Belen, Evangeline Alinsug and rookie Arah Ella Panique contributed nine, eight and seven points, respectively, for the wards of returning mentor Norman Miguel.

“We have to check first kung sino makakalaban namin. From there, doon na manggagaling lahat ng adjustments namin. But again, ganoon pa rin naman sa finals kung ano yung tinatrabaho namin,” said Miguel, mentioning passing, blocking and floor defense as areas of improvement for his wards moving forward.

“Going into the finals, dapat sabay-sabay ang kundisyon nila. Yun ang kailangan naming trabahuhin.”

NU, which wiped out Pool A in the prelims and Pool E in the playoffs before making short work of the University of the East in the quarterfinals, 25-19, 25-21, 25-23, picked up where it left off by pouring it down on Adamson with a dominant 25-13 first-set win.

In the second set, Lady Bulldogs nearly yielded their first set all-tournament long after staring at a 22-24 deficit off an Ayesha Juegos’ hit for the Lady Falcons only for Pangilinan to come to their rescue.

Pangilinan’s thunderous attack forced the deuce at 24-all followed by Panique’s soft touch and her block on Jimy Jean Jamili to cap a 4-0 finishing kick for a thrilling 26-24 win.

The lethal duo of Belen and Solomon then took over from there, anchoring a 10-6 start in the third set en route to a sweep.

Jamili, Ayesha Juego and Jen Villegas fired seven each for Adamson, which will duke it out against the loser between FEU and UST for the bronze medal of SSL Season 2 in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Meanwhile in the classification phase, College of St. Benilde trounced Ateneo, 25-20, 19-25, 25-11, 25-11, to arrange a duel against UE for the fifth place. Ateneo and Arellano will fight for No. 7.

All SSL Season 2 games are accessible across all platforms live and on-demand through the social media pages of Plus Network and SSL with Solar Sports, Blast TV and Aliw Channel 23 as TV partners.

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