Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeSportLady Bulldogs bracing for hunger-fueled Tigresses

Lady Bulldogs bracing for hunger-fueled Tigresses

NU Lady Bulldogs during the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball Final Four game against FEU Lady Tamaraws.

NU Lady Bulldogs during the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball Final Four game against FEU Lady Tamaraws. –MARLO CUETO/

As difficult as things have been for National University (NU) so far during its UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball campaign, the Lady Bulldogs know it won’t get any easier from here as they battle University of Santo Tomas (UST) for all the glory in the Finals.

“UST won’t back down, you can see its hunger when they play,” Lady Bulldogs star hitter Bella Belen said in Filipino after securing a seat to the Finals on Wednesday with a 25-13, 27-25, 25-15 bounce-back win against Far Eastern University (FEU). And Belen knows what she and the Lady Bulldogs have to do when they shoot for the crown starting on Saturday.

“We won’t play it safe [in the Finals], we will give our 100 percent effort to make it hard for [the Golden Tigresses],” she added.

After all, the Tigresses gave the Lady Bulldogs a hard time when they dominated the Season 84 champions in the season-opener with a straight-sets rout.

Having much more experience than the youth-laden UST crew, NU got back with a four-set revenge act on the way to a perfect round two.

NU secured the top semifinal seed with a 12-2 (win-loss) card, the same record compiled by Santo Tomas, which lost the No. 1 spot due to inferior points. The Lady Bulldogs were paired with the Lady Tamaraws in the semifinals, where FEU stunned NU and dragged their half of the Final Four to a deciding match. UST, meanwhile, didn’t need to fish its twice-to-beat coupon from its pocked and ousted defending champion De La Salle University in one try.

“We know that [the Tigresses] won’t easily give us the game,” said Belen, who will have to go through her friends from UST, including longtime friend and former teammate Bernadett Pepito, in NU’s third consecutive Finals appearance.

“We have somewhat let go of our redemption bid, like what I said before. For now, we focus first on going to work and we will get that redemption if we do our jobs this season,” she added.

“We know that starting tomorrow (Thursday), we [will need to] undergo extreme preparation,” coach Norman Miguel, who will rely on the likes of Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Vange Alinsug, Erin Pangilinan and Lams Lamina, said. “You can’t belittle the character of UST.”

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